Vienna meet on nuclear deal supports Iran's continued oil, gas exports

David Peterlin

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and some senior military commanders have threatened in recent days to disrupt oil shipments from Gulf countries if Washington tries to cut Tehran's exports.

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, who was with Rouhani in Europe, said on Monday the foiled Villepinte attack was a "false flag ploy" to harm Iran and offered his country's help in investigating the matter.

Germany's foreign minister said on Friday world powers would not be able to fully compensate for companies leaving Iran due to new USA sanctions, but warned Tehran that abandoning its nuclear deal would cause more harm to its economy.

In another phone call to German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Rohani said the European economic measures are "disappointing", the Tasnim news agency reported.

She added that the participants will work on the issues such as "the encouragement of further investments in Iran, the protection of economic operators for their investments and other commercial and financial activities in or in relation to Iran, the bringing together of private and public sector experts, the practical support for trade with and investment in Iran, the protection of companies from the extraterritorial effects of U.S. sanctions".

"We want to make it clear to Iran today that it still has economic benefits from this agreement", Maas told reporters.

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But Le Drian also warned Iran to "stop the threats" to withdraw from the deal if it does not receive enough guarantees from Europe.

The other signatories - Britain, France, Germany, China and Russian Federation - have vowed to stay in the accord but appear powerless to stop their companies pulling out of Iran for fear of United States penalties.

Rouhani expressed hope, however, that the diplomats would be able to make progress.

Germany's Foreign Minister Heiko Maas speaks during a news conference in Dublin, Ireland, April 12, 2018.

Rouhani warned Wednesday that Iran could reduce its cooperation with the United Nations' nuclear watchdog if the nuclear deal falls apart.

In calls Thursday with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said since the USA withdrawal "Iran has been dealing with economic issues and problems in banking relations and oil" and that foreign companies were "skeptical" about continuing their business, Iran's semi-official Mehr news agency reported.

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In light of Washington's push on sanctions, European leaders have said they would do their utmost of maintain business ties with Iran but it would be hard for them to make any "guarantees".

Reuters reports that whether the bank will invest in Iran is in doubt.

She noted that such cooperation would be "through direct bilateral efforts and through engagement with worldwide partners in order to encourage them to follow the same policies and to establish similar mechanisms in their economic relations with Iran".

Iran's economy is already suffering from the sanctions that Washington re-imposed after walking away from the nuclear agreement, and the US has threatened to punish companies from other nations that continue doing business with Iran.

Since Trump's announcement, Iran's rial currency has fallen, prices have risen and the country has been hit by street protests and strikes.

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