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Newspaper: Europe, China and Russia discuss a new agreement with Iran

UNITED STATES (OBSERVATORY) –┬áDiplomats from Europe, China and Russia will discuss a new deal offering Iran financial help to curb its interference in the region and reduce its development of ballistic missiles in hopes of salvaging the nuclear deal signed in 2015, a German newspaper reported on Sunday.

Welt am Sonntag quoted senior EU sources as saying that officials would meet in Vienna in the coming days under the leadership of the EU’s top diplomat, Helga Schmid, to discuss the next steps after US President Donald Trump’s May 8 withdrawal from the nuclear deal with Iran.

Germany, France, Britain, Russia and China will attend the meeting but the United States will miss him, the paper said. It was not clear whether Iran would participate. Tehran has resisted calls in the past to curb its ballistic missile program.

Under the nuclear deal in 2015, Iran agreed to reduce its nuclear program in return for lifting most of the Western sanctions. One of Trump’s main complaints is that the deal does not include Iran’s missile program, nor does it include support for armed groups in the Middle East that the West considers terrorist groups.

A new deal would preserve the terms of the nuclear deal, reduce ballistic missile development efforts and limit Tehran’s activities in the region, which could help persuade Trump to lift sanctions on Iran, the newspaper said.

“We must stay away from the name of the Vienna nuclear agreement and add some elements,” a senior European diplomat was quoted as saying. This will only convince President Trump to agree to lift the sanctions again.”

No comment was available from the German Foreign Ministry.

On Saturday, the EU energy commissioner sought to reassure Iran that the bloc was committed to salvaging the nuclear deal and boosting trade with Tehran.

Officials from the European Union, Germany and other countries still adhering to the agreement said EU efforts to keep the agreement if it failed would be disastrous.

Iran has struggled to make financial gains from the nuclear deal, in part because US unilateral sanctions linked to its missile program have prevented Western investors from dealing with Tehran.

The newspaper said officials were looking for a new approach because they understood it would be difficult for European companies to overcome new US sanctions.

The new deal could include billions of dollars in financial aid to Iran, along the lines of a European Union agreement to provide billions of dollars in aid to Turkey to receive millions of migrants and close its borders, helping to end the migrant crisis in 2015.

Last week, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif described the talks between Iran and European countries as a good start on how to salvage the nuclear deal, but said much depended on what would happen in the next few weeks.