Rouhani visits Western allies amid nuclear deal troubles

GERMAN PRESS AGENCY - DPA
VIENNA
Published 02.07.2018 12:09
Updated 02.07.2018 12:48
Iran's President Hassan Rouhani speaks during an extraordinary meeting of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in Istanbul, Turkey May 18, 2018. (Reuters Photo)
Iran's President Hassan Rouhani speaks during an extraordinary meeting of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in Istanbul, Turkey May 18, 2018. (Reuters Photo)

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani is set to start his trip to Switzerland and Austria on Monday, as uncertainty over Tehran's nuclear deal with major powers has created domestic trouble for the leader.

Bern is the first destination on Monday for Rouhani, who is visiting a Western European country for the first time in two and a half years.

Rouhani and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif plan to meet their respective Swiss counterparts Alain Berset and Ignazio Cassis.

The meetings have extra significance as under a deal with Washington, Switzerland represents U.S. interests in Tehran. The U.S. pull-out from the nuclear deal in May was followed by revived U.S. sanctions against the Islamic Republic.

Trump argues that the 2015 agreement is too weak to prevent Tehran from building atomic weapons, and that it does not address Iran's involvement in Middle Eastern conflicts.

On Wednesday, Rouhani is scheduled to meet leaders in Austria, which took over the rotating EU presidency at the start of July.

"The aim is to find ways of preserving the progress made as a result of the agreement and of ensuring the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons" despite the U.S. pull-out, the Swiss government said in a statement.

The European Union is working on a plan to shield European companies from the revived U.S. sanctions.

Meanwhile, economic protests have been recently multiplying in Iran amid rising prices and the plummeting rial. The currency has been sent downward by fears about the revived U.S. sanctions and the possible collapse of the nuclear deal.

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