Iran says U.S. sanctions meant to derail efforts to save nuclear deal

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Mogherini said "expert talks" on relevant financial and economic issues such as banking transactions and oil would begin soon and that the deputy foreign ministers from the three European nations and Iran would meet in Vienna next week.

EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said Tuesday that experts had already begun work on measures to get round U.S. sanctions, focusing on nine key areas including Iran's ability to continue selling oil and gas products, and how to protect European companies doing business in the country.

"We must expect more such moves by the Americans".

Some countries, like Italy, are also preparing national measures, such as special financial vehicles to help their companies dealing with Iran.

Zarif said this list of commitments has to become "operational" and completed with details, "and then we can decide to what extent Iran's interests can be secured".

As Javier Blas, a chief energy correspondent at Bloomberg News, noted in his tweet, "France is floating European financing tools to bypass United States sanctions on Iran (including ideas to use the European Investment Bank, the European Central Bank or ad-hoc instruments to trade)".

The deal between Iran and six world powers lifted most worldwide sanctions in 2016 in return for Tehran curbing its nuclear programme, under strict surveillance by the United Nations, to stockpile enriched uranium for a possible atomic bomb.

The NTI also notes global intelligence agencies have "long suspected Iran of using its civilian nuclear program as a cover for clandestine weapons development".

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said on Tuesday the Middle East was explosive and could be on the cusp of war.

"It's pretty much the death penalty in that case for any business that wants to do business in the US or even have the capacity to clear USA dollar transactions", Keller said.

Despite the insistence that the European end of the deal can be kept alive, the threat of getting caught in the U.S. sanctions net is a grave concern for corporations and banks that are prepared to do business with Iran.

The JCPOA was seen as a military/security-oriented agreement for all the parties apart from Iran; for Iran, it was viewed as a multifaceted military, economic, and political agreement that gave Tehran much greater freedom and maneuverability to act. Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, not Rouhani, has the last say on all state matters. The European Union and its member states have yet to discuss whether they will emulate South Korea and pursue this possibility.

The U.S. should impose economic sanctions against this state sponsor of terrorism until its government shows clear and irrefutable signs of moving away from funding terrorist organizations, militarily backing the U.S.'s enemies and propping up dictators who commit genocide against their own people.

Whether the USA government would really follow through on its threat to punish Asian and European companies doing business in Iran is unclear.

It is unclear how well the measure could be enforced, given that big multinationals are likely to be doing more business in the USA than they are in Iran and may be unwilling to compromise that market access. "We will try to uphold our side of the bargain".