Zarif embarks on journey to save nuclear deal by first visiting China

Representational Image. Reuters

Representational Image. Reuters Mahesh Senanayake

According to him, Araghchi told the commission that if Iran does not receive such guarantees from European leaders it would have to "take the necessary decisions".

When asked if tensions between Israel and Iran have escalated because the USA withdrew from the nuclear deal, Pompeo said, "That's ludicrous to suggest that Iran feels less constrained when during the JCPOA that have now fired missiles into an airport where Americans travel each day in Riyadh".

Historic deal on Iran's nuclear program from 2015 provides for the removal of sanctions against Iran in exchange for limiting its opportunities for the enrichment and storage of nuclear materials. "We believe that today China is on our side", he said.

"China, of course, the first economic partner of Iran".

"If the nuclear deal is to continue, the interests of the people of Iran must be assured", he added.

Mohammad Javad Zarif's tour began two days after unprecedented Israeli strikes in Syria which a monitor said killed at least 11 Iranian fighters, triggering fears of a broader conflict between the two arch-enemies.

Washington's decision to withdraw from the agreement and reimpose sanctions infuriated its allies in Europe as well as China and Russian Federation.

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Media captionWhat is the Iran nuclear deal?

"Considering the fact that the European Union member states have made the most requests that after America's withdrawal it wants to stay in the JCPOA, we should see how these countries ensure that the interests of Iran will be guaranteed despite America's pullout", he stated.

A number of voices in Iran have suggested the deal is unlikely to survive.

Europe's largest economies lobbied to protect their companies' investments in Iran on Friday, seeking to keep the nuclear deal with Tehran alive after Washington pulled out and threatened to impose sanctions on European companies.

Iranian hardliners - who have long opposed President Hassan Rouhani's moves to improve ties with the West - are already mobilising against the efforts to save the nuclear deal.

While announcing his decision, Trump called the agreement "defective at its core", claiming that after the lifting of the sanctions Tehran "used its new funds to build nuclear-capable missiles, support terrorism and cause havoc throughout the Middle East and beyond".

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