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European Union launches economic plan to save Iran nuclear deal

European Union launches economic plan to save Iran nuclear deal

White House National Security Adviser John Bolton said it is possible the US will impose sanctions on European companies that do business with Iran.

The three European signatories to the landmark 2015 deal are leading global efforts to preserve it after US President Donald Trump withdrew and reimposed sanctions lifted under the accord.

Britain, France and Germany are working to secure measures to protect European countries working in Iran against the danger of United States sanctions after President Donald Trump withdrew from the deal.

European officials have said they are looking for ways to help their companies escape the brunt of the USA sanctions.

Asked whether the United States might impose sanctions on European companies that continue to do business with Iran, Bolton told CNN: "It's possible. It depends on the conduct of other governments".

Mrs Merkel, speaking in the western German city of Muenster last Friday, said that Mr Trump's latest blow to transatlantic relations, on top of his withdrawal from the Paris climate accord and trade disputes, made clear that the world's multilateral institutions are "in real crisis".

Trump directed his administration to "immediately begin the process of re-imposing sanctions" related to the deal, a White House statement said.

Trump weighed in later Sunday, saying his decision would limit Iran's regional ambitions.

Washington has long complained that the nuclear deal does nothing to stop Iran's ballistic missile program or its interference in conflicts across the Middle East from Syria to Yemen.

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After the meeting of the foreign ministers, EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said the group had tasked experts to protect European business in Iran.

"I believe we're on the right track to move forward in order to ensure that interests of all the JCPOA remaining participants, particularly Iran, will be preserved and guaranteed", he told reporters. "The answer is no", Le Maire told reporters in Paris, adding that France won't accept the "vassalization of Europe" by USA officials bent on reimposing sanctions on Iran. The minister said he wanted France, Germany and Britain to reach out to the US administration and ask for "exemptions, additional deadlines, or to respect the contracts that have been agreed in good faith by our businesses in Iran".

Germany - along with France and Britain - has said it remains committed to the nuclear deal. "It's a UN Security Council Resolution and it belongs to the entire world", said Mogherini, who will chair talks Tuesday with the British, French, German and Iranian foreign ministers in Brussels.

After long negotiations, Iran agreed in July 2015 to freeze its nuclear program in return for the repeal of punishing worldwide sanctions.

Trump's action has been met with dismay among America's allies in Europe and Asia and with scathing criticism and opprobrium in the USA political circles and the liberal press.

"We're not talking about annexes or modifications of the agreement at all, we're talking about setting up concrete measures" to preserve the deal, Mogherini said. Military tensions between Iran and Israel have already mounted, and oil prices are rising on the uncertainty.

She said the parties are working on the principle of not dismantling something that works.

"We are under no illusions about the stuff Iran gets up to in the region, in the Middle East".

Mr Zarif failed to win any concrete assurances to help tackle the United States threat of economic sanctions during talks in Beijing on Sunday, and was due in Russian Federation on Monday.