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When he quit the deal last week, US President Donald Trump gave businesses a maximum of six months to wind up operations in Iran or face swingeing penalties under American sanctions.

Iran's foreign minister yesterday began attempts to salvage the nuclear deal in China, the country's biggest trade partner, rather than Brussels, increasing fears that President Trump's decision to pull out of it will marginalise Europe.

The JCPOA has ensured that Iran's nuclear program remains peaceful in exchange for sanctions relief.

"Iran's interests in important areas and issues relevant to the JCPOA, like oil, gas, and petrochemicals sales, as well as banking relations should be clearly and explicitly defined and guaranteed", Rouhani said.

Khamenei said on Wednesday that Iran does not trust France, Germany and the United Kingdom to provide the "real guarantees" needed for Iran to remain in the agreement. The U.S. exit, together with its threaten to sanction companies economically involved with Tehran, has sparked outrage in Europe.

The sanctions will target critical sectors of Iran's economy, including petrochemicals, energy and finance.

Under the deal signed in Vienna with six world powers - China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, the US, Germany, and the European Union - Iran scaled back its uranium enrichment programme and promised not to pursue nuclear weapons in exchange for the lifting of economic sanctions.

Iran's foreign minister says talks with the EU's foreign policy chief in Brussels were "constructive".

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The EU insists the deal is working, pointing to repeated United Nations inspections verifying the Islamic republic's compliance with its side of the bargain, and Mogherini's spokeswoman Maja Kocijancic told AFP ahead Zarif's arrival that "we must do our utmost to preserve it".

Following Tuesday's evening talks in Brussels, all 28 European Union leaders are expected to discuss their next steps at a summit in Sofia on Wednesday, but no decisions are expected.

Russian Federation and Iran also sought to strengthen their business ties long before the 2015 agreement, despite global sanctions in place.

"And they may try to [stay in the deal], in part because I think despite President Trump's complete consistency in opposition to the deal ... many people, including, apparently, former Secretary of State John KerryJohn Forbes KerryRomney: Those who mock McCain "humiliate themselves" Another battle between politics and common sense Trump hasn't earned a Nobel, but the Peshmerga have MORE, thought that we never would get out of it", Bolton said.

The minister echoed calls from Chancellor Angela Merkel and other leaders that Iran should agree to a broader deal that went beyond the original accord and included Iran's "problematic role in the region".

"The European signatories should make up for the U.S. withdrawal from the JCPOA and guarantee our rights".

But European diplomats were despondent.


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