Iran's Zarif: US undermines JCPOA

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Pic: ReutersMOSCOW: The foreign ministers of Germany and Russian Federation said on Thursday they were working to preserve the Iran nuclear deal after U.S. President Donald Trump announced Washington would leave it and ordered sanctions reimposed on Tehran.

Earlier in the week, France, Germany and the United Kingdom expressed "regret and concern" over the US' withdrawal.

On Wednesday, Trump warned Iran there would be "very severe consequences" if it starts developing nuclear weapons in the wake of the US withdrawal from a 2015 worldwide pact aimed at restraining Tehran's nuclear program.

"The President of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran has been tasked with taking all necessary steps in preparation for Iran to pursue industrial-scale enrichment without any restrictions", Zarif said on Friday.

"If the nuclear deal is to continue, the interests of the people of Iran must be assured".

After Beijing, the head of the Iranian guardian will visit Moscow and in Brussels. A majority of countries said that the deal should continue.

According to reports by Iranian news agencies, Rouhani, in issuing his orders on May 12, underlined the importance of securing Iran's economic interests. "We are certain that today China is by our side".

But Tehran said it will stick to the deal if it can be saved.

Before leaving, Zarif published a government statement on his Twitter page, slamming Trump's "extremist administration" for abandoning "an accord recognised as a victory of diplomacy by the worldwide community".

Germany acknowledged it could be hard to protect companies doing business with Iran as a senior US official renewed a threat of sanctions against European firms following Washington's decision to pull out of a nuclear deal with Tehran.

Trump hit back Saturday evening, tweeting that the accord had failed to contain Iran's militarism.

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The deal focused on limiting and monitoring Iran's production of nuclear fuel, a key ingredient for producing such weapons.

Tehran, which has sought to avoid an escalation in regional conflict that could alienate its European partners, has not commented on whether its forces were hit.

Israel and its allies have blamed Iran's Revolutionary Guards for initiating Thursday's exchange by launching missiles into the occupied Golan Heights.

Iran denies that version of events, saying the Israeli strikes were launched on "invented pretexts".

European powers alarmed by Donald Trump's withdrawal from the Iran nuclear accord set out this week on an urgent search for ways to hold the deal together and avoid a further escalation of violence in the Middle East.

Zarif's visit to the Russian capital Moscow is part of his global tour, as an effort to save the Iran nuclear deal.

After his meeting in China, he will travel on to Russian Federation and then a meeting at European Union headquarters in Brussels with representatives from France, Germany and the United Kingdom.

Meanwhile, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani repeated his thesis that the country would remain committed to the 2015 nuclear arms deal if Iranian interests could be protected.

"Tomorrow in Brussels, we are going to have a conversation about what we can do to help United Kingdom firms and help European firms have confidence that they can still do business".

"They have chose to pull out, we don't think that is necessarily the right thing to do, given that Iran is in compliance with the JCPOA, so we want to hear a little bit more from Washington about their proposals".

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