Iran deal deadline approaching, as Trump weighs options

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Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad-Javad Zarif on Thursday, January 11 held talks with his French counterpart Jean-Yves Le Drian on the importance of implementation of Iran's 2015 nuclear deal, IRNA reports.

"The deal is working, it is delivering on its main goal which means keeping the Iranian nuclear programme in check", Mogherini said, stressing the importance of preserving an agreement she said is "making the world safer and... preventing a potential nuclear arms race in the region".

U.S. President Donald Trump, in a statement issued on October 13, refused to certify Iran's compliance to the nuclear deal and asked Congress to decide about the fate of the nuclear deal.

After meeting his Iranian, French, German and European Union counterparts in Brussels, UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson insisted the deal was preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.

President Trump has until Friday to sign a waiver that would block the renewal of US sanctions on Iranian oil.

But Europe also signaled its opposition to the Trump administration over the 2015 nuclear deal, which ended most worldwide sanctions in exchange for curbs on Iran's nuclear program.

Iranian officials have ruled out a renegotiation, and all other parties to the accord, as well as many disarmament advocates and nuclear scientists, have reiterated their support for it.

The top Iranian diplomat is also scheduled to meet with deputy prime minister and foreign minister of Belgium, Didier Reynders.

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As tension and discontent grows on the issue, some Republicans have proposed alternative plans that they believe would crack down on Iran's intransigent behavior and provide Trump with a pathway to abandon the deal and reimpose all sanctions on Iran.

Iran has been gripped by anti-government protests in recent weeks, leading the Islamic Republic to imprison thousands of people.

"In responding to developments in Iran, now and in the future, the USA should be careful not to take any steps that might undermine the JCPOA (nuclear agreement) which remains vital to US national security", it said.

Despite being outspoken in his criticism of USA foreign policy since President Donald Trump took office a year ago, Gabriel has also said the United States was right to address concerns about Iran's strategy in the Middle East.

Critics of the deal in Congress have also proposed amending legislation to ensure that U.S. sanctions would "snap back" automatically if Iran carried out certain actions.

"Given the importance of JCPOA these days, and in particular considering the U.S. destructive policies, based on talks we've had, we agreed to have a consultative meeting between Iran and the three European Union members", said Zarif, according to state broadcaster IRIB. White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said at a briefing on January 9 that in the coming days Washington would announce its decision concerning the fulfillment of its obligations under the JCPOA for Iran's nuclear program.

The White House said Trump had "underscored that Iran must stop its destabilizing activity in the region".

Kamalvandi said possible measures also include decreasing the Islamic Republic's cooperation with the United Nations nuclear agency - a possibility also mentioned earlier this week by Iran's nuclear chief, Ali Akbar Salehi.

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