The Latest: Iran, France race to save nuclear deal
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — The Latest on developments around escalating tensions in the Persian Gulf crisis between Tehran and Washington (all times local):
French and Iranian experts were huddling in Paris as the clock ticks on an end-of-the-week deadline for Europe to come up with a way for Iran to sell its oil despite U.S. sanctions — or face a new scaling back of the 2015 nuclear accord.
A visit on Monday by Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi and a team of economists was wrapped in discretion.
The French Foreign Ministry says only that a teams of experts, including from the economy ministry, are meeting “to reach a de-escalation of tensions.”
The meeting coincided with a Moscow visit by Iran’s foreign minister, who made an exceptional appearance in Biarritz last week on the sidelines of the G-7 summit.
French President Emmanuel Macron has worked to save the nuclear accord, unraveling since President Donald Trump withdrew and leveled sanctions on Iran.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif says Iran will go back to complying with its 2015 nuclear deal with world powers in full only when European nations go back to delivering on their commitments.
Zarif made the remarks in Moscow on Monday while his deputy traveled to Paris with a team of economists in a renewed diplomatic push to renew the nuclear deal that President Donald Trump withdrew America from over a year ago. Iran set a deadline for Friday for Europe to offer it a way to sell its crude oil on the global market.
Zarif told reporters after talks with his Russian counterpart that Iran would “be complying with its obligations in full when the Europeans comply with theirs in full.”
An Iranian oil tanker pursued by the U.S. that has been traveling across the Mediterranean Sea is now off the coast of Tripoli in northern Lebanon.
The ship-tracking website MarineTraffic.com showed the Adrian Darya 1 moving slowly just outside the Lebanese territorial waters, after it had stood off the coast of Syria a day earlier.
The ship’s Automatic Identification System does not show its destination after its mariners onboard previously listed it as ports in Greece and Turkey. Turkey’s foreign minister at one point suggested it would go to Lebanon, something denied by Lebanese officials.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo later claimed that it was bound for a refinery in Syria.
The U.S. has warned countries not to accept the Adrian Darya, which carries 2.1 million barrels of crude oil worth some $130 million.
Iran’s government spokesman is warning that Tehran will “take a strong step” away from its 2015 nuclear deal with world powers if Europe doesn’t offer the country new terms by a deadline this week.
Ali Rabiei made the comments on Monday to journalists in Tehran.
Iran previously set a Friday deadline for Europe to help Tehran sell its oil on the global market despite U.S. sanctions.
Already, Iran has gone over the stockpile and enrichment limitations placed on it by the 2015 deal. However, Tehran says those steps are quickly reversible.
Rabiei’s comments came as Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif is in Moscow and his deputy will travel to Paris with a team of economists for last-minute diplomacy before the deadline.