Top UK diplomat hopes Iran deal can be salvaged

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International Desk;

British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt says that even if the window to find a diplomatic solution to the standoff over the Iran nuclear deal is quickly closing, he still holds out some hope that the agreement can be salvaged.

Hunt said ahead of a regular meeting of EU foreign ministers in Brussels on Monday that Iran would still be “a good year away” from developing a nuclear weapon, allowing for more time to make sure the nuclear deal can be preserved.

Hunt says the deal “isn’t dead yet and we are totally committed” to keeping the region denuclearized.

A senior German official insists Iran must fulfill the terms of the nuclear deal to realize hopes of better economic ties with the outside world.

Iran, which is suffering from U.S. sanctions re-imposed after Washington withdrew from the deal last year, recently begun surpassing uranium enrichment limits set by the 2015 deal.

It says these moves can be reversed if given enough economic incentives. European powers still on board the deal are setting up a barter-type system known as INSTEX to trade with Tehran.

Michael Roth, Germany’s deputy foreign minister, said as he arrived at a meeting in Brussels on Monday: “We want to uphold our part of the agreement.”

He added that INSTEX “makes economic cooperation possible, but it is necessary for Iran to keep to the commitments it made. It must stay true to the agreement, otherwise this all makes no sense.”

European Union nations are looking to deescalate tension in the Persian Gulf area and call on Iran to stick to the 2015 nuclear deal despite the pullout of the United States and the re-imposition of sanctions.

Dutch foreign minister Stef Blok said on Monday that “it is still not too late, but Iran really has to stick to its obligations.”

At their regular monthly meeting, the EU foreign minister will also look to drum up further support for its barter-type system to trade with Tehran and get around possible U.S. sanctions. Ten nations are already on board.

Iran has said it needs improved economic ties with Europe since the United States has re-imposed harsh sanctions on Tehran’s oil exports, exacerbating an economic crisis that has sent its currency plummeting.unb

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