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Iran Meeting Remaining Members Of Nuclear Accord In Vienna

Iran's Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi meeting European Union foreign affairs official Helga Schmid in Vienna on June 28, 2019.
Vienna, July 28, 2019 (AFP) -

The remaining signatories to the Iran nuclear deal will meet in Vienna on Sunday to try again to find a way of saving the accord amid mounting tensions between Tehran and Washington.

The U.S. pulled out of the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) or the nuclear agreement with Iran in May 2018, leaving the fate of the accord in question and precipitating tensions following the reimposition of sanctions by Washington.

Envoys from Britain, France, Germany, China, Russia and Iran will take part in the extraordinary meeting which comes a month after a similar gathering failed to achieve a breakthrough.

Iran is represented by its Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi, who mainly deals with Iran's nuclear-related negotiations.

As U.S. oil sanctions tightened in May, Iran said it would disregard certain limits the deal set on its nuclear program and threatened to take further measures if remaining parties to the deal, especially European nations, did not help it circumvent the U.S. sanctions.

Pressure has continued to mount in the region with a string of incidents involving mysterious attacks on oil tankers and downing of drones.

The U.S. and Gulf powerhouse Saudi Arabia have accused Iran of being behind attacks on tankers in the Gulf in May and June, which Iran denies.

On July 19, a British-flagged tanker was impounded by Iran's Revolutionary Guards with its 23 crew aboard in the Strait of Hormuz.

The seizure was seen by London as a tit-for-tat move for British authorities detaining an Iranian tanker off the UK overseas territory of Gibraltar in early July.

Efforts by European powers, notably France's President Emmanuel Macron, to salvage the nuclear deal have so far come to nothing.

The remaining signatories, however, have pledged to work towards a breakthrough at a future ministerial meeting, for which no date has yet been fixed.

Referring to the need for a "preparatory meeting before the ministerial level meeting that will be necessary", one European diplomat told AFP it was "imperative to talk to the Iranians after the proven violations of their commitments".

It said the talks were requested by Britain, France, Germany and Iran and would examine issues linked to the implementation of Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), under which the 2015 deal is implemented.

Reporting by AFP