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Zarif: Iran willing to return to full compliance with nuclear deal if Europe helps

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif says that Iran will not renegotiate the nuclear deal. (YouTube)

This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif says Tehran would be willing to move back to full compliance with the 2015 nuclear deal if Europe provides “meaningful” economic benefits.

Speaking on the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference on February 14, Zarif said that Tehran was “prepared to slow down or reverse” measures Iran has taken to step back from its commitments to the landmark deal signed with six world powers.

Britain, France, and Germany — also signatories to the deal — have been struggling to save it since U.S. President Donald Trump withdrew in May 2018 and reimposed tough sanctions on Tehran.

Trump asserted that the terms were not strict enough to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons and said Tehran violated the spirit of the accord by continuing to finance extremist activity in the region. Iran has denied the allegations.

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Tehran has said it no longer considers itself bound by the pact, although President Hassan Rohani has said his country is ready to “return to its commitments” under the accord if other parties uphold theirs.

Iran has demanded that the European powers provide economic help to mitigate the damages caused by the U.S. sanctions. Russia and China are also part of the deal.

“We will decide whether what Europe does is sufficient to slow down or to reverse some steps — we have not even ruled out reversing some of the steps that we have taken,” Zarif said.

European countries have set up a special trading mechanism — called Instex — in an effort to allow legitimate humanitarian trade with Iran to offset some of the effects of U.S. sanctions, although it has not yet completed any transactions.

In any case, Iranian officials have said this is not sufficient.