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Johnson to meet Iranian Foreign Minister today before US sanctions deadline

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UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson will join his European colleagues today in Brussels to meet Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, on the eve of a deadline for US President Donald Trump to decide whether to reimpose sanctions lifted under the Iran nuclear deal.

The European powers will reaffirm their commitment for the nuclear deal that Trump has said must be fixed or the US will withdraw, EU diplomats told Reuters.

Yesterday Foreign Minister Zarif said that he had held a meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov in Moscow and that it is imperative that all parties to the nuclear agreement live up to their obligations.

Trump is however expected to extend US sanctions relief to Iran as part of the US’s commitment to the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.

Six people familiar with the administration’s deliberations, including two administration officials and two congressional aides told the Associated Press on Wednesday that Trump’s top advisers were recommending that he not reimpose sanctions on Iran. They also stress that Trump could still reject the recommendation from US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Defence Secretary James Mattis and National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster and that no final decision had been made.

Trump has to decide by Friday whether to extend nuclear-related sanctions relief for many Iranian institutions and individuals, including Iran’s central bank (which had largely cut Iran out of the international financial system), or re-impose them.

According to the report, Trump is likely to pair his decision to renew the concessions to Tehran with new, targeted sanctions on Iran to punish its ballistic missile testing, support for terrorism and human rights violations. These would also include targeted sanctions on Iranian businesses and people (some of whom may include firms and individuals whose sanctions were scrapped in the landmark 2015 nuclear accord).