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Europe must make press freedom in Iran a priority

29 May 2018

On May 8, US President Donald Trump announced Washington's withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal, vowing to reinstate sanctions on Tehran and impose "the highest level" of economic bans on the Islamic Republic.

Washington has not only reimposed sanctions but started to make them even tighter.

The meeting of officials from China, Russia, Germany, the United Kingdom and France with Iran was held in Vienna, where the pact was finalised in 2015.

Iran's supreme leader set out a series of conditions on Wednesday for Iran to stay in the deal.

Trump denounced the accord, completed under his predecessor Barack Obama, partly because it did not cover Iran's ballistic missile development programme, its role in Middle East conflicts or what happens after the deal begins to expire in 2025.

The 2015 agreement between Iran and world powers lifted global sanctions on Tehran.

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European Union foreign ministers will discuss policy on Iran at a meeting in Brussels on Monday.

"Iran scares me", said Solana in an interview in Madrid this week.

The prospect of new American sanctions on Tehran has already caused some European firms to indicate they will pull out of business ventures in Iran.

"For the time being we are see if they can provide us with a package which can actually give Iran the benefits of sanctions-lifting and then the next step is to find guarantees for that package", Iran's Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi told reporters after the meeting.

Russian delegate Mikhail Ulyanov struck an upbeat note, saying: "We have all chances to succeed, provided that we have the political will".

Emmanuel Macron and Vladimir Putin met on the worldwide stage last week and discussed matters of Iran as nations continue in their attempts to salvage the JCPOA. Speaking at the conservative Heritage Foundation, the former Central Intelligence Agency director unveiled the administration's nuclear nonproliferation strategy against Iran, which strives to exert constant pressure on Tehran so as to goad it into a new nuclear deal without resorting to armed force.

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He added that the possibility of referring the matter back to the United Nations "was not discussed during this meeting".

"The IAEA director general was invited to today's session of the commission". According to a report seen by AFP Thursday, an International Atomic Energy Agency believes Iran is still abiding by the deal's key restrictions on its nuclear facilities in return for relief from damaging economic sanctions. His overtures towards Tehran culminated in the nuclear deal.

"If the Europeans linger over our demands, Iran has the right to resume its nuclear activities", Khamenei said.

The unnamed senior Iranian official rejected any attempt to link the JCPOA to other such issues. Our departure from the deal does not mean that North Korea can not reliably negotiate with America, although negotiations were stalled this week when President Donald Trump canceled a summit meeting with Kim Jong Un that had been planned for June 12 in Singapore. They continued: "We urge the United States to ensure that the structures of the JCPOA can remain intact, and to avoid taking action which obstructs its full implementation by all other parties to the deal".

He further pointed to recent negotiations between the Iranian and European delegations to save the JCPOA following the United States withdrawal from the deal and said that it can not be said whether the results of the talks have been good or bad.

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Europe must make press freedom in Iran a priority