Iran says EU promising to salvage nuclear deal despite Trump move

Head of the Iranian Atomic Energy Organization Ali Akbar Salehi attends a lecture in Vienna on Sept 28, 2016.
Head of the Iranian Atomic Energy Organization Ali Akbar Salehi attends a lecture in Vienna on Sept 28, 2016.PHOTO: REUTERS

TEHERAN (REUTERS) - Iran's nuclear chief said on Saturday (May 19) that the European Union had promised to save the nuclear deal with major powers despite US President Donald Trump's decision to exit the accord and reimpose sanctions on Teheran.

"We hope their efforts materialise... America's actions... show that it is not a trustworthy country in international dealings," Mr Ali Akbar Salehi told a joint news conference in Teheran with the European Commissioner for Energy and Climate, Mr Miguel Arias Canete.

Under the 2015 deal with major powers, Iran curbed its nuclear programme in return for the lifting of most Western sanctions on the country. The sanctions were lifted in 2016.

Mr Canete, who arrived in Teheran late on Friday for a two-day visit, aims to reassure Iran that the 28-nation EU wants to keep trade open despite the US withdrawal from the pact, announced by Mr Trump on May 8.

"We have sent a message to our Iranian friends that as long as they are sticking to the agreement the Europeans will... fulfil their commitment. And they said the same thing on the other side," Mr Canete said.

"We will try to intensify our flows of trade that have been very positive for the Iranian economy."

The EU was once the biggest importer of Iranian oil.