Iran says US sanctions intended to derail efforts to save nuclear deal

From left, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas and Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif walk, during a meeting of the foreign ministers from Britain, France and Germany with the Iran Foreign Minister and EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini, at the Europa building in Brussels, Tuesday, May 15, 2018. (AP/Olivier Matthys, Pool)
Updated 16 May 2018
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Iran says US sanctions intended to derail efforts to save nuclear deal

  • Iran has described the new US sanctions as illegal and has warned that if talks to rescue the accord fail, it would ramp up its nuclear program to a level more advanced than before

LONDON: Iran said on Wednesday that new sanctions imposed on it by Washington were an attempt to derail efforts to save the 2015 nuclear deal by its remaining signatories following the US withdrawal from the accord.
The US Treasury on Tuesday imposed sanctions on Iran’s central bank governor, three other individuals and an Iraq-based bank, a week after US President Donald Trump abandoned the deal Iran signed with world powers to curb its nuclear program.
Iran has described the sanctions as illegal and has warned that if talks to rescue the accord fail, it would ramp up its nuclear program to a level more advanced than before.
“With such destructive measures, the American government is trying to influence the will and decision of the remaining signatories of the JCPOA (nuclear agreement),” Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qasemi was quoted as saying by Fars news agency.
British, French and German foreign ministers met in Brussels on Tuesday to see how they can save the nuclear deal without the United States, but appeared hard-pressed over how their companies could continue doing business with Iran once Washington begins to reimpose sanctions.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said the meeting had been a good start, but he wanted to see guarantees materialize.
The Europeans and Iranians have now tasked experts to come up with measures quickly and will meet again in Vienna next week.


Lebanese cabinet approves draft state budget

Updated 28 min 45 sec ago
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Lebanese cabinet approves draft state budget

  • Budget is seen as a critical test of the government's determination to make changes
  • Could help unlock some $11 billion in financing

BEIRUT: The Lebanese cabinet approved the draft state budget on Friday and a session to formally seal it will be held at the presidential palace, government ministers said.
"All the clauses and articles have been agreed on," Finance Minister Ali Hassan said after a cabinet meeting in an interview with broadcaster NBN.
The information minister said in a news conference the draft budget cut the deficit to 7.5% of GDP from 11.5% in 2018. "Now, praise God, we are done. The budget is complete," Information Minister Jamal Jarrah said.
The budget is seen as a critical test of the government's determination to make changes that have been put off for years by a state riddled with corruption and waste. Lebanon has one of the heaviest public debt burdens in the world.
The budget could help unlock some $11 billion in financing pledged at a Paris donors' conference last year for infrastructure investment, if it wins the approval of donors along with other reforms.