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UK, France, Germany to hold Iran talks

The US pulled out of the nuclear deal in 2018 [Getty]

Date of publication: 30 August, 2019

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The three European powers will hold talks on Iran tensions.

France, Germany and the UK will on Friday hold talks on ways to keep alive the troubled Iran nuclear deal and protect shipping in the Gulf.

It comes after Iran seized Western tankers in the busy shipping lane, while the US has withdrawn from a 2015 nuclear deal with Iran, and enforced tough new sanctions.

It has led to a sharp rise in tensions between the two countries, which has alarmed European powers.

European powers believe that the deal is the best way to stop Iran acquiring nuclear weapons.

Foreign ministers from the UK, France and Germany - the three European parties to the deal - will be joined by EU diplomatic chief Federica Mogherini for talks at a meeting in Helsinki.

Efforts to shield Iran's economy from the re-imposition of US sanctions have so far being unsuccessful.

The G7 summit last weekend saw Trump indicating his willingness to talk to Iran, raising hopes for the US' European allies.

Mogherini said the EU would support such a move - provided the current deal was preserved. 

UK Foreign Minister Dominic Raab said they would aim to "build on the momentum of the positive G7 talks on Iran".

Trump also indicated he might be open to meet his Iranian counterpart Hassan Rouhani and appeared he could back an idea from France that Iran be given a line of credit to help stabilise its economy.

"The nuclear deal is the only deal on the table that prevents Iran from getting a nuclear weapon and we will continue working together to encourage Iran to uphold the agreement in full," Raab said.

"We also need the broadest international support possible to tackle the threats to international shipping in the Strait of Hormuz."

The UK has joined the US' Operation Sentinel mission to protect commercial shipping through the Gulf and commercially vital Strait of Hormuz.

Mogherini on Thursday gave a cautious welcome to the idea of US-Iran talks but stressed that "first and foremost what is existing needs to be preserved" - including the 2015 deal.

In response to the US pulling out of the deal and re-imposing sanctions, Tehran has breached certain limits on its nuclear production imposed by the accord.

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