EU tries to keep Iran nuclear deal alive / China’s vice-premier visits US / Ramadan begins

By Billy

Good morning, here’s your Tuesday morning briefing to set you up for the day ahead. Look out for these three things happening around the world today.

EU and Iran discuss nuclear deal

Brussels and Tehran want to keep the 2015 nuclear deal alive, despite Washington’s withdrawal and this evening Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif will arrive in Brussels for talks.

Iran is demanding guarantees from the signatories that the deal, aimed at curbing Iran’s nuclear programme, will formally remain in place now the US has backed out.

Iran wants answers within 60 days; the EU is asking for 90 days. Iran is also demanding some form of compensation from the other signatories as soon as US sanctions take effect.

Zarif has already been to Beijing and Moscow since US President Donald Trump last week announced the US would quit the deal, resorting sanctions on Iran.

China’s vice-premier visits the US

China’s top economic official Liu He will arrive in Washington today for five days of trade talks.

Vice-premier Liu, who is a trusted adviser to President Xi Jinping, will hold talks with US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin during the visit.

High on the agenda will be US President Donald Trump’s surprise announcement that he was working with Xi to help get Chinese telecoms company ZTE “back into business”.

Talks are also expected on ways to help reduce China’s trade surplus with the US and provide easier access for US companies to China’s services, financial and technology markets.

Ramadan 2018 begins for Muslims

The holy month of Ramadan begins today, marking a period of fasting and religious focus for millions of Muslims across the globe.

The first day of Ramadan is observed according to the local visibility of the new crescent moon. In Saudi Arabia and most Arab countries, the new moon will be visible from today but Morocco, Iran and Pakistan may see it tomorrow because they started the current lunar month one day later.

In the US and Europe, many Muslim communities rely on astronomical calculations and will observe Ramadan from the eve of 15 May, with the first day of fasting tomorrow.