VIENNA — Iran wants world powers to present measures guaranteeing oil revenue and investment into the country despite U.S. sanctions when ministers meet on Friday to save the 2015 nuclear deal, but European states will fall short of its demands, diplomats said.
In May, President 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). Washington has since told countries they must stop buying the OPEC producer’s oil beginning Nov. 4 or face financial consequences.
Foreign ministers from Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia meet with their Iranian counterpart in Vienna for the first time since Trump left the pact, but diplomats see limited scope for salvaging it.
Describing the Friday meeting as important, Iranian officials have said that key for them is to ensure measures that guarantee oil exports do not halt, and that Tehran still has access to the SWIFT international bank payments messaging system.
During a visit to Europe this week President Hassan Rouhani warned that Iran could reduce its co-operation with the U.N. nuclear watchdog having already threatened Trump of the “consequences” of fresh sanctions against Iranian oil sales.
While talks are expected to focus purely on the nuclear deal, they come amid increasing rhetoric from the Trump administration, which argues that Iran poses a serious security threat.
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.
The issue could be a distraction in the Vienna talks. Iran has said it had nothing to do with the plot and has demanded the official be released without delay.
Any confirmation that Iranian authorities were behind the plot could make it politically difficult for European leaders to continue to back the nuclear deal.
On Thursday, the head of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards said their forces were ready to implement Iran’s threat to block the Strait of Hormuz and that if Iran cannot sell its oil under the U.S. pressure, no other regional country will be allowed to.