Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has expressed hope for a "clear future design" for the 2015 nuclear accord at the start of a diplomatic tour aimed at keeping the deal alive following the U.S. withdrawal.
"We hope that with this visit to China and other countries we will be able to construct a clear future design for the comprehensive agreement," Zarif told reporters on May 13 after talks in Beijing with his Chinese counterpart, Wang Yi.
An Iranian spokesman said Zarif will also visit Moscow and Brussels as part of the tour, saying the diplomatic mission was aimed at trying to rescue the nuclear deal from the brink of collapse.
China's Foreign Ministry on May 13 confirmed that the agenda of the talks between Zarif and Wang included an "exchange [of] views with relevant parties on the developments of the Iranian nuclear issue."
After their meeting, Zarif and Wang hailed the "comprehensive strategic partnership" between their countries, with the Chinese minister saying, "I hope and believe that these visits to multiple countries will...help protect Iran's legitimate national interests and peace and stability in the region."
Iran's semiofficial ISNA news agency quoted Zarif as saying upon his arrival in Beijing that he would "discuss the decision that Iran should take" in response to Trump's move.
"As the president of our republic has said, we are ready for all options," Zarif said on May 13. "If the nuclear deal is to continue, the interests of the people of Iran must be assured."
Meanwhile, Iranian President Hassan Rohani reiterated on May 13 that Tehran would remain in the nuclear accord provided its interests were protected.
China, Russia, France, Germany, Britain, and the United States signed the 2015 accord, which provided Tehran with relief from sanctions in return for curbs on its nuclear program.
Trump long complained about the deal and said Tehran was violating the "spirit" of it by continuing to test ballistic missiles and by supporting militant activities in the region, leading him to withdraw from the pact on May 8.
The other signees had urged Washington to remain in the deal.
"China is highly concerned with the direction of the Iranian nuclear issue and is willing to maintain communication with all relevant parties, including Iran," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said.
Iran has claimed its nuclear program is for civilian purposes and denies supporting extremists in the region.