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Zarif In China Says Time For 'Practical Steps' To Save Nuclear Deal

IRAN - Iranian foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in Beijing airport speaking with reporters. May 17, 2019

Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has said the international community must normalize “Iran’s economic relations” to save the 2015 nuclear agreement.

Speaking to the official government news agency IRNA after arriving in Beijing on Friday, Zarif said that until now the international community instead of of “practical steps” has mainly expressed its views and issued statements on how to deal with the fate of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) or Iran's deal with world powers.

The JCPOA was put in limbo with the U.S. decision to withdraw from the agreement in May 2018 and reimpose economic sanctions, which have badly affected Iran’s economy.

Tehran has been pressing the three European signatories of JCPOA; United Kingdom, France and Germany to find ways to facilitate trade, despite U.S. sanctions.

On May 8 Iran announced a policy of gradual withdrawal from the nuclear deal, if Europe did not resolve the trade issue in 60 days. The EU responded that Europe does not accept "ultimatums".

Zarif also said in Beijing that UN resolution 2231, which put the final seal on the nuclear agreement addresses the issue of Iran’s economic relations.

The nuclear deal did put an end to many UN sanctions put in place in 2011, freeing Iran from many restrictions. But U.S. sanctions reimposed in 2018, have practically resulted in significant restrictions on Iran’s trade and oil exports.

After paying a visit to Japan, Zarif said he is in China “to hold consultations” with “a close political and economic partner”, especially “about recent developments”.

He is scheduled to meet his Chinese counterpart Friday evening, IRNA reports.