Iran threatens weaker commitment to nuclear deal if Europe doesn't act

US use of sanctions threat to its own economic power Zarif

The disappearance of the Adrian Darya 1, formerly known as the Grace 1, follows a pattern of Iranian oil tankers turning off their Automatic Identification System to try and mask where they deliver their cargo amid U.S. sanctions targeting Iran's energy industry.

"There have been a lot of offers for talks but our answer will always be negative", Hassan Rouhani told MPs.

A French diplomatic source said it was important, after recent discussions between Paris and Tehran, to establish that Rouhani was "still ready to negotiate".

Today Iranian President Hassan Rouhani reiterated Tehran will not enter direct talks with the USA unless Washington rejoins the 2015 nuclear deal which Trump withdrew from more than a year ago.

The deal's other parties - the UK, France, Germany, China and Russian Federation - have attempted to keep it alive.

France has suggested the money be paid in three installments and in return, Iran would lift its threat to ramp up atomic activities on September 6 and eventually revert back to full compliance with the accord, Motahari said.

However, the following day Rouhani began to walk back his statement, insisting that the United States should first accept Iran's conditions before getting a chance "for a photo op".

The arch-foes were on the cusp of confrontation in June when Iran downed a U.S. drone and Trump ordered retaliatory strikes before cancelling them at the last minute.

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The situation has calmed down somewhat since, with Macron expressing hopes during a G7 summit in late August of organising a meeting between Rouhani and Trump.

"If the United States lifts all sanctions, it would be possible to talk during 5+1 meetings as in the past", he said. Talks related to the agreement were also underway in Vienna, Zarif's spokesman Abbas Mousavi said, without giving more details.

In an address to parliament, Rouhani said any dialogue with the U.S. would have to fall within the framework of the group of major powers that agreed the landmark nuclear deal with Iran in 2015.

Washington's actions also left Europe scrambling for an effective way to keep the deal alive without running afoul of US sanctions.

"If Europeans can purchase our oil or pre-purchase it, and we can have access to our money, that will ease the situation and we can fully implement the deal", he said.

"However, if they fail to take any significant measure, we will definitely take the third step in the coming days", the president underlined.

Mr Le Drian said the idea is "to exchange a credit line guaranteed by oil in return for, one, a return to the JCPOA (Iran nuclear deal).and two, security in the Gulf and the opening of negotiations on regional security and a post-2025 (nuclear program)". That would allow Iran to obtain foreign hard currency.

According to reports, Iran continues to exceed uranium enrichment limit set by the Obama-era nuclear pact. Weapons-grade uranium is 90% enriched or more.

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