Iran’s Rouhani in Europe in July to seek backing for nuclear deal

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Iranian President Hassan Rouhani will visit Austria and Switzerland next month as part of a campaign by Tehran to secure continued European backing for the 2015 nuclear accord.

The future of the landmark deal was thrown into doubt when President Donald Trump announced last month that the United States would withdraw and re-impose sanctions that would hit international businesses operating in Iran.

The other parties to the agreement -- Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia -- have vowed to stay in the accord but their companies risk huge penalties if they keep doing business in the Islamic republic.

Iran has already warned it is ready to resume uranium enrichment to 20 percent “within days” if the deal falls apart and warned Europe that time was running out.

The visits were announced Monday by the presidencies of both European countries.

Rouhani will visit Switzerland on July 2-3 and then head on July 4 to Vienna -- home of the UN nuclear watchdog the IAEA, which monitors Iran’s compliance with the accord.

Relations between Tehran and Bern, which represents Iran’s interests in the United States, have been deepening in recent years, and Rouhani will be welcomed with full military honors, a statement from the Swiss presidency said.

Vienna played host to marathon talks that began in June 2013 and led to the signing in July 2015 of the deal aimed at preventing Iran from building an atomic bomb.

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