June 29, 2019 / 1:23 PM / 23 days ago

Ball in Europe's court on nuclear deal's future - Iranian state TV

DUBAI, June 29 (Reuters) - The ball is in Europe’s court to shield Iran from U.S. sanctions and prevent it from further scaling back compliance with its nuclear agreement with world powers, Iranian state TV said on Saturday, with days remaining on Tehran’s ultimatum.

Iran’s envoy to a meeting of the remaining signatories to the 2015 nuclear accord said on Friday that European countries had offered too little at last-ditch talks to persuade Tehran to back off from its plans to breach limits imposed by the deal.

Iran stopped complying on May 8 with some commitments in the nuclear deal after the United States unilaterally withdrew from the accord in 2018 and re-imposed sanctions. Tehran said it would suspend further obligations under the deal after 60 days.

“The ball is in Europe’s court. Are Paris, London and Berlin going to again waste a chance under the influence of (U.S. President Donald) Trump, or use the remaining opportunity to fulfill their promises and act on their commitments under the (nuclear deal),” Iranian state TV said in a commentary.

Iran has repeatedly criticised delays in European countries setting up a trading mechanism that aims to circumvent U.S. economic sanctions.

On Friday, Britain, France and Germany said the trade channel, INSTEX, was finally up and running.

Meanwhile, the United States deployed F-22 stealth fighters to Qatar, as tensions mounted after Iran shot down a U.S. drone. Tehran said the unmanned U.S. aircraft was in its air space, which Washington denied.

“These aircraft (F-22 Raptors) are deployed to Qatar for the first time in order to defend American forces and interests,” the U.S. Air Force said on its regional website.

Separately, the Iranian foreign minister said Iran would resist any U.S. sanctions, just as it persevered during the 1980s Iran-Iraq war when the forces of then-Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein launched chemical attacks, including on an Iranian town.

“We persevered then, and will now,” Mohammad Javad Zarif tweeted on the anniversary of the 1987 chemical bombing of the border town of Sardasht, which killed at least 130 people.

“We’ll never forget that Western world supported & armed Saddam ... Security Council never condemned his gassing of our people,” Zarif wrote. (Reporting by Dubai newsroom; Editing by Kevin Liffey)

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