Germany's deputy foreign minister says a deadline issued to Europe by Iran to safeguard its interests in the nuclear deal needs to be debated. Iran, Germany, France and the UK will meet on Tuesday to discuss the matter.
German Deputy Foreign Minister Michael Roth on Monday said that it would be "necessary" to discuss the proposed 45-60 day deadline Tehran has given Europe to provide "guarantees" to safeguard Iran's interests after the US' withdrawal from a nuclear accord reached in 2015.
It will be necessary to discuss "whether we really make progress with such dates and with such deadlines," Roth said.
Roth made the comments in Brussels ahead of a meeting due to take place there between Iran, France, Germany and Britain on Tuesday to discuss the nuclear deal. The EU's top diplomat, Federica Mogherini, will also attend.
Following US President Donald Trump's decision to withdraw from the agreement, an Iranian official was quoted on the parliament's website as saying, "The Europeans have between 45 and 60 days to give the necessary guarantees to safeguard Iranian interests and compensate the damages caused by the US pullout."
The comments were attributed to Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi as reported by Seyyed Hossein Naghavi, spokesman for the parliament's foreign affairs commission.
Europe will help Iran
Roth said Europe was willing "to assume greater economic responsibility in Iran" if Tehran continued to follow the agreement, which is intended to prevent it from pursuing the construction of nuclear weapons.
He also acknowledged that the US sanctions against Iran could affect European companies, which showed "how difficult" the situation was.
Read more: What is the Iran nuclear deal?
On Sunday, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Washington still wants to work with Europe to counter Iran's "malign behavior."
Iran signed the nuclear deal in 2015 with the United States, the EU, Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia.
Iran 'seeking assurances'
Also on Monday, Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif was in Moscow, where he met with his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov.
Zarif said he was seeking "assurances” from the nuclear deal's backers following the withdrawal of the US.
"The final aim of these negotiations is to seek assurances that the interests of the Iranian nation will be defended," Zarif said at a press conference with Lavrov in Moscow.
Lavrov, meanwhile, said Russia and Europe had a duty to "jointly defend their legal interests" in relation to the deal.
On the weekend, Zarif's diplomatic tour saw him arrive in Beijing, where he met his Chinese counterpart. Following the meeting, Zarif said he was hopeful of forging a "clear future design" for the accord.
law/msh (AFP, dpa)