Vienna meet on nuclear deal supports Iran's continued oil, gas exports

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Foreign ministers and senior diplomats from Britain, China, France, Germany and Russian Federation held talks on Friday with their Iranian counterpart, Mohammad Javad Zarif, in Vienna for the first time since US President Donald Trump announced he was abandoning the nuclear deal and moving to re-impose sanctions on Iran.

Talks to save the 2015 nuclear deal on Friday are unlikely to satisfy Iran, European powers said, and Tehran warned that it could leave the accord if it was not fully compensated for the re-imposition of U.S. sanctions.

Since Trump's shock move in May, Washington has warned other countries to end business in Iran and stop buying its oil from early November or face punitive measures.

The meeting was chaired by EU High Representative Federica Mogherini and attended at the ministerial level by China, France, Germany, Russia, Britain and Iran.

Gen. Qassem Soleimani, commander of the IRGC-QF, who runs Iran's foreign military operations, said, addressing Rouhani, "Your valuable statement that said there will be no guarantees for oil exports from this region unless the Islamic Republic of Iran (can) also export its oil was a source of pride".

"We all know that we want to stay in the nuclear deal, and we believe that we should keep talks in a quite atmosphere", she said.

The foreign ministers' meeting on the Iran nuclear issue on Friday would send a clear signal of solidarity to maintain and implement the Iran nuclear deal reached between Iran and world powers in 2015, according to Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi.

"SWIFT is the key but Iran has to stay in at least until the end of the year to maintain divisions between the European Union and United States, keep some credibility and try and survive amidst forthcoming sanctions", said Sanam Vakil, Associate Fellow at Chatham House, a London-based worldwide think tank.

LONDON - Europe's package of economic measures to offset the United States pullout from the nuclear deal is "disappointing", Iranian President Hassan Rouhani told German Chancellor Angela Merkel by telephone on Thursday.

Rouhani warned on Wednesday that Iran could reduce its co-operation with the United Nations nuclear watchdog if the deal collapses.

Since Trump's announcement, Iran's rial currency has fallen, prices have risen and the country has been hit by street protests and strikes.

The new round of diplomacy has been clouded after security services said they had foiled an alleged plot to bomb a Paris rally by an exiled Iranian opposition group, the People's Mujahedeen of Iran.

What Iran expects from other signatories to the accord is to consider Iranians' nuclear, political and economic rights addressed in the deal, Zarif told reporters ahead of the meeting.

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