Iran to stick to nuclear deal despite US withdrawal: President

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Vienna, July 4 (IANS) Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Wednesday reiterated his country’s intention on sticking to the Iranian nuclear deal despite the withdrawal by the US.

Rouhani made the comments during a state visit to Vienna, where he was welcomed with military honours and greeted by his Austrian counterpart Alexander Van der Bellen, Xinhua news agency reported.

“What the Americans have done was against all agreements, against peace and against stability.

“Not the US, not any other country would benefit from this decision,” said Rouhani who was in Vienna on Wednesday on his second leg of his European tour, which also brought him to Switzerland.

The agreement is designed to oppose the proliferation of nuclear weapons, he said, and was unanimously backed by the United Nations Security Council, and has continued support from the European Union including Austria.

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Van der Bellen said in Austria’s view the agreement made in Vienna three years ago is a “key element” in the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons.

As host country to nuclear-related talks, Austria is also “particularly obligated” to see the process through, he said, adding that should Tehran hold its side of the agreement, Austria will support continuation of the deal.

As the US is reinstating sanctions on Iran, Rouhani is trying to seek supports from EU countries to secure Tehran’s interests under the nuclear deal.

Rouhani also discussed other issues in the Middle East region with Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz.

Iran signed the landmark nuclear deal (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action) with the US, Britain, France, Russia and China plus Germany in 2015 to halt its nuclear weapons programme in exchange for sanctions relief.

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However, US President Donald Trump decided on May 8 to quit the Iranian nuclear deal and vowed to re-impose sanctions, including oil embargo, on Tehran, on grounds that the deal had failed to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons or supporting terrorism in the region.

Immediately after Trump’s announcement, many countries condemned the move as they said it threatens regional peace and pushes the region to the edge of war.

Last week, the US State Department announced that the US has been pushing its allies to stop oil imports from Iran by November 4.

Trump has asked Saudi Arabia to increase its oil exports to compensate the shortage in the market demands in case Iran’s crude exports drop.

Iran’s Petroleum Ministry has said it has been prepared for the worst-case scenarios in case the US pressures take effect.

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