With US out, those backing Iran nuclear deal meet in Vienna

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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 programme verified by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

Britain, France and Germany along with Russian Federation and China met with Iran in Vienna to offer economic benefits and assurances that would lessen the blow of sweeping USA sanctions announced by Trump.

Germany's foreign minister said on Friday world powers would not be able to fully compensate for companies leaving Iran due to new USA sanctions, but warned Tehran that abandoning its nuclear deal would cause more harm to its economy.

But in a setback on the eve of the talks, Iran s President Hassan Rouhani told French President Emmanuel Macron that European economic measures now on offer did not go far enough.

The Vienna meeting of foreign ministers will discuss the European offer that aims to persuade Iran to stick with the 2015 deal, a European diplomat said without specifying the measures.

Heading into the talks, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas conceded that the treaty nations would not be able to compensate Iran entirely for the loss of business from companies withdrawing, but said they would advise firms that want to continue investing and emphasize to Iran that leaving the deal "would have much greater disadvantages".

More news: European Union warns Donald Trump he risks $294bn trade tariff reprisals

Since 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.

Friday's statement lists key fields to support Iran to secure its economic interests, including "the maintenance and promotion of wider economic and sectoral relations with Iran; the preservation and maintenance of effective financial channels with Iran; the continuation of Iran's export of oil and gas condensate, petroleum products and petrochemicals; the continuation of sea (including shipping and insurance), land, air and rail transportation relations", manly to shield the country's backbone of the economic sector from US sanctions.

Iranians have complained that the hoped-for rise in foreign investment and trade after the deal has not materialised. The rial currency has fallen, prices have risen and the country has been hit by street protests and strikes.

Trump in May slammed the nuclear accord signed under his predecessor Barack Obama as "horrible" and "defective at its core", earning applause from Iran s regional rivals Saudi Arabia and Israel.

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. The demands have been rejected by Iran. Iran has said it had nothing to do with the plot and has demanded the official be released without delay.

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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