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Parties to faltering Iran deal descend on Vienna in a bid to salvage trade ties

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Parties to faltering Iran deal descend on Vienna in a bid to salvage trade ties

iran deal vienna
iran deal vienna
Photo: AP

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif will meet his counterparts from Britain, Germany, France, Russia, China and the EU in Vienna today to try to salvage the 2015 nuclear deal following the US withdrawal from the agreement on May 8.

Given the pressure from hardliners at home, Zarif has until August 6—when the first US sanctions come into force—to flesh out a rescue package with the EU. Beyond that date, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khomeini may well withdraw permission for further talks and pull Iran out of the deal.

But European policymakers face a challenge: their companies are unlikely to risk being locked out of the US credit market to do business in Iran. Unless Russia and China can replace the loss of EU business, the chances of Iran remaining in the accord after August are diminishing.

An Iranian pullout would give conservative elements in Tehran the upper hand. For years they have argued that Mr Rouhani was naive to trust American assurances. The ascendency of conservative thinking in Iran increases the likelihood of hardline foreign policies being pursued, increasing tensions in the region and with the West more generally.

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