◢ Iran cannot "interact" with the United States as it is a country whose word cannot be trusted, supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei was quoted as saying on Wednesday. His comments came after US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Monday warned that Iran would be hit with the "strongest sanctions in history" and cautioned European firms against continuing to do business in Tehran.
◢ French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said Wednesday that the United States risks further destabilizing the Middle East after Washington warned Iran faced the "strongest sanctions in history.” Le Drian warned Wednesday of a "regional explosion" because of the Syrian civil war and the Iranian nuclear crisis.
◢ Iran's environment chief said Tuesday that a government committee had concluded there was no evidence against wildlife activists rounded up on spying charges in recent months. Isa Kalantari, head of the government's department of environment, told state news agency IRNA that the conclusion had been reached by a special four-man committee.
◢ The EU's foreign policy chief said Monday there was "no alternative" to the Iran nuclear deal, after US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo vowed unprecedented sanctions against Tehran following Washington's withdrawal from the pact.
◢ Iran's President Hassan Rouhani dismissed threats made by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Monday, saying the rest of the world no longer accepts Washington making decisions on their behalf. "Who are you to decide for Iran and the world?" Rouhani said in a statement carried by multiple Iranian news agencies.
◢ The United States will increase the financial pressure on Iran with the "strongest sanctions in history," after Washington pulled out of the 2015 nuclear deal with Tehran, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Monday. The secretary of state also warned European businesses who work with Iran in violation of US sanctions that they will be held "to account."
◢ Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said Sunday that European efforts to save the nuclear deal after the exit of the United States were not sufficient. "The cascade of decisions by EU companies to end their activities in Iran makes things much more complicated," Zarif told reporters.
◢ Iran said Saturday it would wait to see whether Europe produces tangible results in overcoming US sanctions before deciding whether to stay in the nuclear deal, as a top EU official visited Tehran to present plans to maintain trade ties. "The ball is in the court of the EU. They have presented different proposals, we will see if they materialize," Iran's Atomic Energy Organization head Ali Akbar Salehi told reporters.
◢ After leaving the Iran nuclear deal, Washington wants to move forward by offering to build a "coalition" to counter the multiple "threats" posed by the Tehran regime—but Europeans intent on saving the 2015 accord may thwart that effort. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Monday will unveil a new "diplomatic roadmap" for Iran.
◢ The EU launched formal steps Friday aimed at sparing European firms fallout from US sanctions on Iran as part of efforts to preserve the nuclear deal with Tehran. The move to invoke the "blocking statute" had received the all-clear at a meeting of European Union leaders in Sofia on Thursday as the transatlantic rift deepened.
◢ The EU will on Friday begin moves to block the effect of US sanctions on Iran in the bloc, European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker said, as part of efforts to preserve the nuclear deal with Tehran. The "blocking statute" is a 1996 regulation originally created to get around Washington's trade embargo on Cuba.
◢ Danish shipping group Maersk Tankers on Thursday said it would cease its activities in Iran due to the US's decision to leave a landmark nuclear deal and reimpose sanctions against Tehran. Maersk Tankers would honor customer agreements entered into before May 8, but then wind them down by November 4, "as required by the re-imposed US sanctions.”
◢ The Russia-led Eurasian Economic Union trade bloc signed an interim trade deal with Iran on Thursday and plans to negotiate a free trade zone, said Kazakhstan which hosted the talks. The agreement signed in the Kazakh capital Astana comes as the United States is snapping economic sanctions on Tehran back into place and warned companies not to do business with Iran.
◢ Chinese state-owned oil company CNPC will replace Total on a major gas field project in Iran if the French energy giant pulls out over renewed US sanctions against Tehran, Iran's oil minister has said. Total started the USD 4.8-billion South Pars 11 project in July 2017, two years after Western powers signed a nuclear deal with Tehran prompting the return of many businesses to Iran.
◢ European Union leaders agreed on a "united EU approach" to keeping the Iran nuclear deal alive after US President Donald Trump withdrew from the pact, a European source said after talks in Bulgaria. The 28 EU leaders also backed a plan for dealing with trade tariffs that Trump is imposing on European metals, saying that the "EU will not negotiate with a gun at its head.”
◢ EU chief Donald Tusk hit out at US President Donald Trump on Wednesday, accusing Washington of "capricious assertiveness" in abandoning the Iran nuclear deal and imposing trade tariffs on Europe. The 28 European Union leaders are meeting for dinner on the eve of a summit to discuss closer ties with the Western Balkans, but tensions with Trump have hijacked the agenda.
◢ Iran's foreign minister said Wednesday that meetings with EU leaders on salvaging the nuclear deal sent a strong political message but must now be turned into action. Zarif was returning from a diplomatic tour of the remaining parties to the 2015 nuclear agreement—Britain, France, Germany, China and Russia—following the US decision last week to pull out.
◢ The European Union on Tuesday launched work on a nine-point economic plan to keep the Iran nuclear deal alive after the abrupt withdrawal of the US. Their efforts focus on maintaining economic ties with Iran, continuing Iran's ability to sell oil and gas products and protecting EU companies.
◢ Iran's foreign minister said Tuesday that efforts to save the nuclear deal after the abrupt US withdrawal were "on the right track" as he began talks with European powers in Brussels. Mohammad Javad Zarif met EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini ahead of evening talks with his counterparts from Britain, France and Germany—the three European signatories to the 2015 landmark deal who are scrambling to preserve it.
◢ Iran's foreign minister is due to land in Brussels later Tuesday on the final leg of a global tour rallying diplomatic support for the country's nuclear deal. Mohammad Javad Zarif will meet with his counterparts from Britain, France and Germany—the three European nations involved in the landmark deal who are incensed by Washington's abandonment of the pact.
◢ Iran's foreign minister said Sunday he was hopeful of forging a "clear future design" for the nuclear deal facing collapse after Washington's withdrawal, at the start of a diplomatic tour aimed at rescuing the agreement. Zarif will later fly to Moscow and Brussels to consult the remaining signatories to the 2015 agreement denounced by US President Donald Trump.
◢ Iran's foreign minister arrived in Beijing Sunday, Iranian media said, on the first leg of a whirlwind diplomatic tour designed to try and rescue the nuclear deal left on the brink of collapse after the US pulled out. Mohammad Javad Zarif will later fly to Moscow and Brussels to consult with the remaining signatories to the 2015 agreement denounced by President Donald Trump.
◢ While Russia has condemned Washington for its withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal, Moscow remains less exposed to the economic consequences of US sanctions than Europe and its companies could even benefit from the move. Russia and Iran sought to strengthen their business ties long before the 2015 agreement, despite international sanctions in place.
◢ The Turkish economy minister on Friday said the United States withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal was an "opportunity" for Turkey, insisting there would be no-let up in trade with Tehran. "I see it like this, this is an opportunity for Turkey," Nihat Zeybekci told state news agency Anadolu, adding: "I will continue to trade with Iran."
◢ France's economy minister Bruno Le Maire urged European nations Friday to defend themselves against US sanctions targeting foreign companies that trade with Iran, as the rift between Washington and its allies deepens. Le Maire said the European Union had to defend its "economic sovereignty" when it comes to the right to trade with Iran.
◢ France's foreign minister on Thursday condemned the United States for reimposing sanctions against foreign companies trading with Iran, labeling the move "unacceptable" in comments that expose the deepening rift between Washington and its European allies on the issue.
◢ Saudi Arabia will seek to develop its own nuclear weapons if Iran does, Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir told CNN on Wednesday, amid spiraling tension between the regional rivals. Riyadh, which leads a regional coalition that intervened in Yemen's civil war to fight the Huthis, accuses Iran of supplying the militia with ballistic missiles.
◢ Iranians reacted with a mix of sadness, resignation and defiance on Wednesday to US President Donald Trump's withdrawal from the nuclear deal, with sharp divisions among officials on how best to respond. While European leaders have defiantly said they will work to protect their trade ties, Iran's leaders are skeptical.
◢ French President Emmanuel Macron and Iran's Hassan Rouhani agreed on Wednesday during a phone call to work toward "the continued implementation of the nuclear deal" despite the US decision to withdraw from the agreement, the French presidency said. Macron's office said France and Iran's foreign ministers would meet "without delay" for talks.
◢ European officials will "do everything" possible to protect the interests of companies working in Iran, which may now be exposed to new US sanctions against the country, an official in the French presidency said Wednesday.