First meeting on Iran nuclear deal without US participation kicks off in Austrian capital of Vienna, where Iranian officials seek economic package from the Europeans if the 2015 nuclear accord is to be salvaged.
Talks with European powers on an economic package aimed at salvaging the Iran nuclear deal will continue after a round of discussions that took place in Vienna on Friday, Iran's deputy foreign minister said.
"For the time being we are negotiating ... to see if they can provide us with a package which can actually give Iran the benefits of sanctions-lifting," Abbas Araqchi told reporters.
"And then the next step is to find guarantees for that package, and we need both legal and political commitments by the remaining participants in the JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action) deal."
For the first time since the accord came into force in 2015, China, Russia, France, Britain and Germany gathered, at Iran's request without the United States, which pulled out on May 8.
The other nations have all said they want to stay in the 2015 deal, which limits Iran's enrichment and stockpiling of material that could be applied to a nuclear weapons programme.
In exchange, Tehran was granted widespread relief from international trade, oil and banking sanctions.
Deal put 'in intensive care'
Earlier, an Iranian official warned the deal had been put "in intensive care" by Washington's dramatic withdrawal earlier this month.
The official rejected any attempt to link the deal to other such issues, saying it would mean "we lose JCPOA and we [would] make the other issues even more complicated to resolve," adding that it was pointless for the Europeans to try to "appease" Trump.
"We have now a deal which is in the intensive care unit, it's dying," he said.
He added that the Europeans had promised Iran an "economic package" to maintain the benefits of the JCPOA for Iran despite the reintroduction of US sanctions.
Iran expected this package by the end of May, he said, adding the country had only "a few weeks" before having to decide whether to keep participating in the deal or not.
Putin warns of dangerous instability
Since the US pull-out, the other signatories have embarked on a diplomatic marathon to try to keep the agreement afloat.
Meanwhile, Russian President Vladimir Putin warned on Friday that the US exit from the nuclear deal could trigger dangerous instability and raise new threats for Israel if Tehran resumes a full-fledged nuclear programme.
"We can't sort things out with North Korea. Do we want another problem on the same scale?" Putin asked at an economic forum in St. Petersburg.
Tehran abiding by deal
According to a report seen by AFP on Thursday, the International Atomic Energy Agency believes Iran is still abiding by the deal's key restrictions on its nuclear facilities in return for relief from damaging economic sanctions.
The IAEA, however, is "encouraging [Iran] to go above and beyond the requirements" of the deal in order to boost confidence, said a senior diplomat in Vienna, where the IAEA is based.
Unusually for a meeting of the joint commission, IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano was invited to brief the participants on the IAEA's work in Iran.
Iran has threatened to restart its uranium enrichment programme at an "industrial level" if the deal falls apart.
The five signatories still committed to the agreement have said they want Iran to stay in the deal, with the European countries saying they would not rule out further talks with the Islamic Republic on an expanded text.
However, in the run-up to Friday's meeting, several Iranian officials warned that there was no question of broadening the discussions.