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Iran, World Powers Prepare for Nuclear Deal Talks

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Foreign ministers from Iran and four other countries are set to hold talks Friday on the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers.

The ministers are to discuss how their countries can best support the deal following the withdrawal of the United States.

Iranian state media reported on Tuesday that Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif will be in Vienna, Austria for the talks. It said he will meet with the foreign ministers of Britain, China, France, Russia and Germany.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani is also traveling to Switzerland and Austria this week as part of efforts to try to save the nuclear agreement. Rouhani has said he expects European countries to propose measures in the coming days to keep the deal alive.

Under the agreement, Iran promised to limit its uranium enrichment activities so that it could not create enough fuel for nuclear weapons. In exchange, billions of dollars of seized Iranian money was released, while many restrictions on the country were ended.

U.S. President Donald Trump announced in May that the United States was withdrawing from the deal. He described the agreement as “very badly negotiated.” But all the other signatories to the nuclear deal say they still support it. They have expressed strong disappointment at the U.S. withdrawal.

On Monday, the Trump administration announced its plans to re-establish strong sanctions on Iran's energy and banking industries.

'Our goal is to increase pressure on the Iranian regime by reducing to zero its revenue on crude oil sales,' said Director of Policy Planning Brian Hook. He added that U.S. officials are working to contain any problems that may affect the international energy market.

During a press conference at the State Department, Hook called on Iran to meet demands so it could be, what he termed, 'normal country.'

'Normal countries don't terrorize other nations…and impoverish their own people,' Hook said. He added that the new U.S. policy is not about changing the Iranian government.

He noted the first part of U.S. sanctions will take effect in early August.

These measures will include targeting Iran's automobile industry, trade and some metals, including gold. He said the remaining U.S. sanctions will take effect in early November.

These sanctions will include targeting Iran's energy industry and petroleum-related activities and activities involving the central bank of Iran.

The United States has warned other countries that they will also face sanctions if they continue to trade with sanctioned areas of the Iranian economy.

Hook said U.S. officials are traveling around the world meeting with American allies to try to persuade them to cooperate with the sanctions.

I'm Susan Shand.

VOA News reported this story. Susan Shand adapted it for Learning English. George Grow was the editor.

Words in This Story

disappointment - n. the state or feeling of being disappointed

sanction - n. an action that is taken to force a country to obey international laws by limiting or stopping trade with that country

regime – n. administration or government

revenue - n. money that is made by or paid to a business or an organization

impoverish v. to make someone poor

petroleum – n. an oily liquid that is found in many places near Earth’s surface

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