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Iran to cut some 'voluntary commitments' under nuclear deal over EU stance

Iran to cut some 'voluntary commitments' under nuclear deal over EU stance
Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif has said that Iran will continue to abide by the 2015 nuclear deal – but will no longer implement some optional commitments, due to the lack of EU pushback against the US.

Zarif, who arrived in Russia on Tuesday, sought to debunk speculation that Iran is considering abandoning part of its binding commitments under the internationally acclaimed accord, struck back in 2015.

"Iran's future actions will be fully within the [nuclear deal], from which the Islamic Republic will not withdraw," Zarif told reporters in Moscow.

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He chastised the US for being hell-bent on tearing up the deal, and the EU for being too weak to resist American pressure and preserve the accord.

"Washington's efforts to suspend the work of the international treaty are clear," he said. "The European Union and others... did not have the power to resist US pressure, therefore Iran... will not carry out some voluntary commitments."

Letters specifying the changes in Iran's implementation of the deal will be sent to EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini and the leaders of Russia, China, Germany, the UK, and France. Ambassadors of the countries will be briefed on the revised terms by Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi in Tehran, IRNA reported earlier.

The deal has been hanging in the balance since May last year, when US President Donald Trump pulled the US out of it, reintroducing sanctions that had been lifted in return for Iran scaling back its nuclear program. Since its withdrawal, the US has been ramping up belligerent rhetoric towards Iran, imposing additional sets of sanctions, and has declared Tehran's elite Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps "terrorists."

In a bid to reduce Iran's oil exports to "zero," the US last week decided not to extend six-month waivers on Iranian crude that it had given to eight countries following their expiration on May 1, despite an outcry from the EU. In the most recent show of force, Washington deployed four B-52 heavy bombers and a carrier strike group to the Middle East, citing a "credible" threat from Iran. 

Zarif and his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov are scheduled to meet on Wednesday, exactly one year after Trump withdrew the US from the accord.

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