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EU States, Russia, China to Discuss New Iran Deal, Leaving US Sidelined - Report

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US President Donald Trump’s decision to walk away from the 2015 nuclear agreement with Iran has raised serious concerns and worries among America’s European allies.

Diplomats from Germany, France, Britain, led by senior EU diplomat Helga Schmid, and also from Russia and China, will be meeting in Vienna next week to discuss a new agreement with Iran similar to the 2015 deal, but one that would put curbs on Tehran's ballistic missile program and the role it plays in the region, Welt am Sonntag reported.

According to the media outlet, the negotiators hope that an amended deal would help bring the US on board and persuade President Trump to lift the sanctions on Iran. The new agreement may also reportedly provide financial aid to the Islamic Republic.

The participants are also expected to discuss how to defend against the sanctions Washington threatens to use against European companies, which continue doing business with Tehran.
US representatives will not be attending the Vienna meeting though and it remains unclear whether Iranian representatives will take part.

The media report comes just days after German Chancellor Angela Merkel visited the city of Sochi to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin, with the Iranian nuclear deal being high on the agenda.

"We spoke about the difficult situation amid the US withdrawal from the Iranian nuclear deal. Germany, the United Kingdom, France and all our colleagues in the European Union are supporting this agreement and we are going to continue to abide by it in the future," Merkel said during a joint press conference with Putin on Friday.

Keeping Trade Open

In a clear response to the US decision to exit the Iran nuclear deal, the EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker announced that the bloc plans to apply a 1996 law that would prohibit European companies from complying with any sanctions the US would reintroduce against Tehran.

Juncker said the EU leaders had “also decided to allow the European Investment Bank to facilitate European companies' investment in Iran" and that the European Commission would continue to cooperate with Tehran.

Miguel Arias Canete, European commissioner for energy and climate, reassured Iran on Saturday that the European Union wants to keep trade open despite the US withdrawal from the nuclear deal.

The Iran nuclear agreement, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA,) signed by Tehran and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council – the US, France, Britain, Russia and China – plus Germany on July 14, 2015, imposes strict restrictions on Iran's nuclear program in return for the loosening of economic sanctions.

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