Iranian foreign minister headed abroad to salvage Iran nuclear deal

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Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, center, speaks with Lebanon’s Prime Minister Saad Hariri, right, after a group photo at a conference ‘Supporting the future of Syria and the region’ at the Europa building in Brussels on Wednesday, April 25, 2018. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)

Iran’s foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif is heading to Beijing, Moscow and Brussels over the next few days in a bid to save the Iran nuclear deal after the U.S. withdrawal.

Zarif’s mission will be to safeguard the deal’s economic benefits in exchange for Iran’s continued compliance.

But the U.S. is vowing to isolate any company both domestic and foreign that continues to deal with Iran.

CGTN’s Nathan King reports from the White House.

Starting Saturday, Iran’s foreign minister is set to visit China, Russia and the headquarters of the European Union in Brussels. His talks could mean the difference between the Iran nuclear deal continuing or totally collapsing.

Meanwhile, Europe continues to react angrily to the U.S. threat to impose sanctions on any businesses that continue to deal with Iran. France’s finance minister accused the U.S. of interfering in national sovereignty.

“I think there is a true realization. A realization among all European states that we cannot keep going in the direction we are headed today whereby we submit, we submit to American decisions,” said Bruno Le Maire, the French Finance Minister. “Do we want to submit or do we prefer becoming independent and sovereign?”

On the streets of Tehran, more protests against Washington’s unilateral withdrawal from the 2015 accord. Inspectors say Iran was in full compliance with the agreement which saw over 95-percent of its nuclear fuel shipped out of the country. Thousands of centrifuges shut down.

But the Trump administration has said the Iran deal did not fulfill its promise of bringing Iran back into the international community. The Iranian foreign minister’s shuttle diplomacy is aimed at convincing Europe, Russia and China to stay invested in Iran, despite U.S. pressure.

On top of reimposing sanctions suspended under the nuclear deal, Washington is imposing new sanctions on Iranian individuals it accuses funding “malign activities” in the Middle East.