German minister upbeat on Iran trade vehicle before Rouhani talks

Tehran - All the formal requirements for a European payment system for barter-based trade with Iran designed to circumvent U.S. sanctions are now in place and it should be operational soon, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said in Tehran on Monday. Maas is in Iran to meet President Hassan Rouhani and his Iranian counterpart, Mohammad Javad Zarif, as part of a European effort to salvage Iran’s nuclear pact with world powers and defuse rising U.S.-Iranian tension.

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China complains to U.S. over end to Iran oil sanction waivers

Beijing - China's Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday it has formally complained to the United States over its decision to end waivers on sanctions on Iranian oil imports, adding another fault line to already complicated Beijing-Washington ties. China is Iran's largest crude oil customer, with total imports last year of 29.27 million tonnes, or about 585,400 barrels a day, roughly 6 percent of China's total oil imports, according to customs data.

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Iraq hosts regional rivals Iran and Saudi Arabia at conference

Baghdad - Iraq hosted senior parliamentary officials from arch-rivals Saudi Arabia and Iran on Saturday as Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi sought to bolster his country's nascent role as a mediator in the region. Delegations including the heads of parliament from Turkey, Kuwait, Syria and Jordan also attended the one-day conference in the Iraqi capital to discuss regional security, diplomacy and economic issues. Abdul Mahdi recently returned from visits to Iran and Saudi Arabia, both oil-super-powers that have long been vying for dominance in the Middle East. It is unusual for Saudi and Iranian officials to attend the same events.

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Rouhani says Iran ready to improve ties with Gulf states

Dubai - Iran is ready to work with all of its neighbors to secure peace in the Middle East in the face of U.S. and Israeli aggression, President Hassan Rouhani said on Sunday, in his latest attempt to weaken ties between regional rival Saudi Arabia and America. Iran and Saudi Arabia have been fighting proxy wars for years, backing opposing sides in conflicts in Syria and Yemen. But pressure is building on Tehran after President Donald Trump pulled the United States out of a 2015 nuclear deal with six world powers and reimposed sanctions. Saudi Arabia welcomed the move.

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