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Rohani To Visit Switzerland, Austria Amid Iran Nuclear Deal Dispute


Iranian President Hassan Rohani (file photo)

Iranian President Hassan Rohani plans to visit Austria and Switzerland next month, the two European countries said on July 18, amid continued uncertainty over the future of the 2015 nuclear agreement between Tehran and world powers.

Rohani's planned European trip comes after U.S. President Donald Trump pulled the United States out of the nuclear deal and moved to reinstate economic sanctions against Tehran.

The other parties to the agreement -- Britain, France, Russia, China, and Germany -- said they remain committed to the deal so long as Iran is honoring it.

Tehran earlier this month announced it had launched the process of increasing its capacity to enrich uranium in case the accord that curbed its nuclear program collapses.

Rohani is scheduled to stay in Switzerland on July 2-3 and have talks with Switzerland’s President Alain Berset and other officials, the Swiss government said.

Discussions will focus on the latest developments regarding the Iran nuclear deal to "find ways of preserving the progress made as a result of the agreement and of ensuring the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons in the region," it said in a statement.

It said the sides would also address the situation in the Middle East.

Both the United States and Saudi Arabia have tasked the neutral European country with representing their interests in Tehran.

On July 4, the Iranian president is to meet with his Austrian counterpart, Alexander Van der Bellen, and Chancellor Sebastian Kurz in Vienna.

Austria would "support EU efforts to save the nuclear agreement with Iran," the dpa news agency quoted a source in the presidential office in Vienna as saying.

The Austrian capital is home to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the UN body that monitors Iran's compliance with the Iran nuclear deal.

It also played host to the negotiations that led to the signing in July 2015 of the deal aimed at preventing Iran from building an atomic bomb.

Tehran insists its nuclear program is for civilian use.

With reporting by dpa
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