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    Iranian president arrives in Europe for crucial visit

    © Belga
    © Belga

    Iranian President Hassan Rouhani arrived in Switzerland on Monday evening  for a visit to Europe presented as “paramount” for the future of the Iranian nuclear agreement following the U.S. withdrawal from the pact. Rouhani is due to be in Switzerland on Monday and Tuesday before travelling on Wednesday to Vienna, where the July 2015 agreement that ended Iran’s international isolation, in exchange of the freezing of its nuclear programme and its commitment never to develop the atom bomb, was signed.

    The trip will be “the opportunity to speak of the future of the agreement,” the Iranian president had said at a press conference at Teheran’s Mehrabad Airport before boarding his plane, according to footage transmitted by State TV.

    Iran’s semi-official Isna news agency on Saturday quoted Foreign Minister Bahram Ghassemi as saying that in the present context of the withdrawal of the United States and the intense negotiations between Iran and Europe to find the means to preserve the agreement, the trip was of capital importance since it would provide a more precise picture of cooperation between Iran and Europe.

    Austria took over the rotating presidency of the European Union (EU) for six months on Sunday, while Switzerland represents the interests of the United States in Iran in the absence of diplomatic relations between the two countries.

    The Vienna Agreement was signed between Iran and the Group of 5 + 1 (China, France, Germany, Great Britain and the United States).

    Since the U.S. withdrawal was announced in May by President Donald Trump, the other signatories have reiterated their will to save it, but Iran has demanded “guarantees” to be able to remain.

    Andy Sanchez
    The Brussels Times