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Chinese foreign ministry confirms Iranian top diplomat’s visit to China, Russia

May 13, 8:01 UTC+3 BEIJING

An anonymous Iranian diplomatic source earlier informed TASS about the upcoming visit, but there was no official confirmation to it until recently

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BEIJING, May 13. /TASS/. Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif plans to visit Russia, China and several European countries during his working tour, Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Geng Shuang said on Sunday, without giving exact dates.

"According to my information, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif’s travel agenda includes China, Russia and several European countries. He plans to exchange opinions with each side on developments related to the Iranian nuclear program," the spokesperson said.

According to the diplomat, China, a member of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) on Iran’s nuclear program, pays great attention to the issue and is ready to engage in talks on the issue with all states.

A source in the Iranian Foreign Ministry informed TASS earlier this week that Zarif will pay a visit to Moscow on May 14 for consultations on the nuclear deal. "Mr. Minister will visit China on Saturday [May 12], will pay a visit to Moscow on Monday [May 14] and will take part in a meeting of the European parties to the deal in Brussels on Tuesday [May 15]," the source said. "In Moscow, Zarif plans to meet with [Russian Foreign Minister Sergey] Lavrov."

On May 8, US President Donald Trump announced Washington’s decision to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal as it, in his words, leaves Iran a possibility to create a nuclear bomb bypassing all the restrictions. He said another agreement with Iran should be signed.

In a Twitter post on Saturday, Trump said the nuclear deal helped Iran to boost its military budget.

"Iran’s Military Budget is up more than 40% since the Obama negotiated Nuclear Deal was reached...just another indicator that it was all a big lie. But not anymore!" he wrote.

Meanwhile, UK Prime Minister Theresa May, French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel issued a joint statement calling on all other parties to the JCPOA to stay committed to their liabilities under it.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani reiterated his country’s commitment to the deal, saying Teheran will continue to fulfill its liabilities.

The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), known as the deal on Iran’s nuclear program, was signed between Iran and six international mediators (the United Kingdom, Germany, China, Russia, the United States, and France) on July 14, 2015. On January 16, 2016, the parties to the deal announced beginning of its implementation. Under the deal, Iran undertakes to curb its nuclear activities and place them under total control of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in exchange for removal of the sanctions imposed previously by the United Nations Security Council, the European Union and the United States over its nuclear program.

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