Struggling to save nuclear deal, Iran and world powers meet

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Trump pulled the United States out of the multinational deal under which sanctions on Iran were lifted in return for curbs on its nuclear program verified by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

Three European nations along with Russian Federation and China met with Iran Friday to offer it economic benefits that would lessen the blow of sweeping USA sanctions, two months after President Donald Trump walked away from the landmark nuclear deal.

However, hopes of success were clouded after Iran's President Hassan Rouhani told French President Emmanuel Macron on Thursday that the European economic measures on the table did not go far enough.

Since US President Donald Trump s shock move in May, which dismayed all other signatories, Washington has warned other countries to end trade and investment in Iran and stop buying its oil from early November or face punitive measures.

Foreign ministers from the five remaining signatories will discuss the European proposal with Iranian officials in Vienna on Friday.

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

Rouhani had said to a group of Iranians now living in Switzerland on Tuesday that if the United States tried to prevent Iran from exporting its oil, "they do not understand what it means, because it would be totally nonsense that Iran's oil is not exported while at the same time the region's oil is exported".

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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.

The EU, once Iran's biggest oil importer, has vowed to keep the 2015 nuclear deal alive without the United States by trying to keep oil and investment flowing.

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.

However, Rouhani told French President Emmanuel Macron by telephone on Thursday that the package of economic measures failed to offset sufficiently the effects of the USA pullout and its re-imposition of nuclear-related sanctions.

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 Iranian President, Hassan Rohani, believes that the entirety of measures offered by the Europeans, to compensate for the effects of the USA government's withdrawal from Iran's worldwide nuclear programme, have not to date proven satisfactory.

An Austria-based Iranian diplomat was among four people arrested on suspicion of plotting an attack on an Iranian opposition group in France last week.

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