EU sources deny report of proposed new nuclear deal with financial aid for Iran

Reuters– Three European Union sources have denied that diplomats meeting in Vienna on Friday to salvage the imperiled Iranian nuclear deal after Washington withdrew will discuss offering Iran financial aid in exchange for concessions.

A German newspaper reported on Sunday that diplomats from Britain, Germany, France, China and Russia will meet in Vienna on Friday to discuss next steps after the May 8 decision by U.S. President Donald Trump to pull out of a 2015 nuclear accord with Iran.

The Welt am Sonntag newspaper cited an unnamed senior EU official as saying that the diplomats would discuss a proposal for a new agreement between Iran and world powers that would be the same as the 2015 deal but with some additions to appease the United States.

These could include provisions to address U.S. concerns over Iran’s ballistic missile program and Tehran’s support of armed groups in the Middle East, the source said.

“We have to get away from the name ‘Vienna nuclear agreement’ and add in a few additional elements. Only that will convince President Trump to agree and lift sanctions again,” the senior EU official told the paper.

Such an agreement could in the future include financial aid for Iran, the report said.

But three EU sources who were part of negotiations to keep U.S. President Donald Trump from quitting the nuclear deal told Reuters later on Sunday that this was incorrect.

“The Vienna meeting next Friday will address the implementation issues and details of the JCPOA,” one EU source said. “The meeting will not cover any other issues.”

No immediate comment was available from the German foreign ministry.

Iran said on Sunday it would take part on Friday in a meeting of a joint commission set up by the six world powers, Iran and the European Union to handle any complaints about the deal’s implementation.

“On Friday, the joint commission … will be held at Iran’s request, and without the United States, to discuss the consequences of America’s withdrawal, and how the remaining countries can continue their commitment to the deal,” Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi said on state television.

On Monday U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will outline a “diplomatic road map” and call for broad support from European and other allies to apply pressure on Iran to force it back to the negotiating table, as well as their support to address “the totality of Iran’s threats”.

Iran and European powers have made a good start in talks over how to salvage the deal but much depends on what happens in the next few weeks, Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif said last week.

Reporting by Andrea Shalal; Additional reporting by Parisa Hafezi in Ankara; Editing by Andrew Bolton, Peter Graff and Raissa Kasolowsky