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Zarif urges Japan to act to protect the Iran nuclear deal

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Thursday called on U.S. allies such as Japan to take action to protect the 2015 Iran nuclear deal during a visit to Tokyo.

Zarif, who held talks with Japanese counterpart Taro Kono, expressed hope that Japan and other U.S. allies will take “practical measures in order to maintain this valuable international agreement.”

Zarif and Kono met a day after Washington ordered non-emergency government employees at the U.S. embassy in Baghdad and the U.S. consulate in Erbil in Iraq’s autonomous region of Kurdistan, to leave Iraq amid escalating tensions between the U.S. and Tehran.

The Iranian foreign minister said the escalation was “unacceptable” and urged the international community to speak out against Washington to protect the deal.

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“If the international community is receiving benefits from this historic deal, it has to be prepared to invest in this historic deal and prevent the United States from spreading illegality and lawlessness,’’ Zarif said.

Recently, Iran announced it would begin partially withdrawing from the nuclear deal with world powers.

The move came exactly one year after U.S. President Donald Trump decided to pull out from the agreement and reinstate tough economic sanctions on Tehran.

Washington also decided earlier this month to deploy an aircraft carrier to the Middle East after Tehran threatened to block the Strait of Hormuz.

“It is essential to maintain this scheme, not only for our bilateral relations but also for the international non-proliferation regime and peace and stability in the Middle East,’’ Kono argued. (NAN)