Rouhani threatens to quit nuke deal if interests not secured

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Following a meeting in Vienna on Friday to save Iran's nuclear deal, European powers including China and Russian Federation, said that they support Iran's right to exporting oil and gas, despite threats of sanctions by the US.

Praising Rouhani's "firm stance" against the United States, the head of the Revolutionary Guards said their forces were ready to block the Strait of Hormuz which links the Gulf to the open sea.

The Iranian president highlighted the problems that Washington's unilateral withdrawal from the JCPOA has created for the European companies involved in Iranian projects.

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".

And Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said the meeting would "send a united and determined signal" to the world that the other parties "will continue to respect the agreement".

Iranians have complained that the hoped-for rise in foreign investment and trade after the deal has not materialized.

"After the withdrawal of the United States, which we can't understand, we face a hard situation", he added, but he stressed that "we want to make clear to Iran that it will still gain economic benefits through this agreement".

During a telephone call with the French President, Emmanuel Macron, Mr Rohani stated that "Europe's proposed package to Iran for continued cooperation as part of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA - the official abbreviation of the agreement, editor's note) does not meet all of the demands of the Islamic Republic".

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"We will not be able to compensate for everything that arises from companies pulling out of Iran", Heiko Maas told reporters before a round of talks among the remaining parties to the deal.

"The Iranians expect the others to say what we are going to do to keep the deal alive".

Since Trump s announcement, Iran s rial currency has fallen, prices have risen and the country has been hit by street protests and strikes.

However, U.S. President Donald Trump decided on May 8 to quit the nuclear deal and vowed to re-impose sanctions, including oil embargo, on Tehran. Modernization of the Arak heavy water reactor is seen as a key issue in the Iran nuclear deal, as the reactor could potentially produce the nuclear fuel for a warhead.

US-Iran relations have been hostile since the 1979 overthrow of the US-backed shah and US embassy hostage crisis.

The large rally last Saturday attracted several U.S. politicians, including former NY mayor Rudy Giuliani, now Trump s personal lawyer.

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.

Tehran dismissed it is an orchestrated "false flag ploy", created to discredit Iran and overshadow Rouhani's trip to Europe.

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