No breakthrough in nuclear talks as Iran demands more after US exit

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Foreign ministers and senior diplomats from Britain, China, France, Germany and Russian Federation held talks on July 6 with their Iranian counterpart, Mohammad Javad Zarif, in Vienna for the first time since U.S. President Donald Trump announced he was abandoning the nuclear deal and moving to reimpose sanctions on Iran. Washington has since told countries they must stop buying Iranian oil from November 4 or face financial measures.

The other partners so far appear powerless to stop their countries' companies pulling out of Iran for fear of United States penalties.

Unlike at past meetings, Mogherini took no questions.

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas conceded that "we won't be able to compensate for all the effects of enterprises withdrawing from Iran because they see their American business interests threatened by the sanctions".

Since Trump pulled Washington out of the historic nuclear deal, European countries have been scrambling to ensure that Iran gets enough economic benefits to persuade it to stay in the deal.

The diplomats said they remained committed to the 2015 accord and to building up economic relations with Iran, including "the continuation of Iran's export of oil and gas" and other energy products.

"We must put in place measures that allow Iran to trade as long as it meets its commitments", he told RTL radio in France, cautioning that the new steps may take until November when numerous sanctions take effect.

However, he warned that if the European sides fail to properly fulfill their commitments, Iran would take its own measures to counter the United States withdrawal from the JCPOA.

Meanwhile, EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said Iran and the remaining parties to the JCPOA have agreed to continue talking, including on economic measures, over how to save the nuclear deal after the U.S. withdrawal.

Iran's Revolutionary Guards said this week that the country would prevent any oil from being exported through the Strait of Hormuz, a shipping lane between Iran and Oman.

"Iran's leadership is clearly adamant that the new situation created by the USA withdrawal from the nuclear pact will not go without consequences".

Rouhani, who visited Switzerland and Austria this week to rally support for the nuclear deal's survival, said in a phone call with Macron that the package "does not meet all our demands", Iran's state news agency IRNA reported.

In late June, Iran's Press TV cited Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi as saying that the UK, Germany, France and the European Union had vowed to put forward a package of practical economic measures to offset the U.S. withdrawal, including those related to oil sales and transit.

Iran, which strongly denies ever seeking to build a nuclear bomb, has warned it could resume uranium enrichment for civilian purposes 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. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall.

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