Iran, European countries meet to try to save nuclear deal

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In recent months, USA and European diplomats have agreed on ways to constrain Iran's missile program and discussed how to strengthen inspections of Iran's nuclear program.

President Donald Trump's announcement on Tuesday that the United States was exiting the 2015 nuclear accord was met with widespread dismay by its other signatories - Britain, China, France, Germany and Russian Federation.

Over the weekend, German Economy Minister Peter Altmaier said his country viewed President Donald Trump's unilateral withdrawal from the nuclear pact with Iran as wrong, adding that Berlin hopes Washington can still be persuaded not to punish foreign firms doing business there.

When pressed by CNN on whether the Trump administration would sanction European firms that continue to do business with Iran, Bolton said, "I think the Europeans will see that it's in their interest ultimately to come along with us".

Germany has acknowledged it could be hard to protect companies doing business with Iran as the United States tightens the screws. "It depends on the conduct of other governments".

Not only has Trump's walkout of the deal imperiled its future, the threat of sanctions could also trickle down to European companies doing business with Iran and further hurt trans-Atlantic ties.

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He added that he believes Iran "never made a strategic decision to give up nuclear weapons".

So far, China, France, Russia, Britain, Germany and Iran remain in the accord, which placed controls on Iran's nuclear program and relaxed some sanctions against Iran.

"Guarantees of benefits of the JCPOA should be given to Iran".

Following his meeting with Zarif on Sunday, China's foreign minister said Beijing will "work to maintain the [nuclear] deal", state news agency Xinhua reported.

Minister for trade and export David Parker last week said it was still unclear to the nations who remained in the nuclear agreement what exports or trade were at risk when associating with Iran.

European firms, especially those from France and Germany, rushed to invest in Iran following the 2015 accord, under which Tehran agreed to freeze its nuclear programme in return for an end to punishing global sanctions.

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Washington's decision to go against its European allies' advice and abandon the deal has pushed them closer to Beijing and Moscow on the issue as diplomats scramble to keep the pact alive.

French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said Friday on Europe-1 radio that Europe should not accept that the U.S.is the "world's economic policeman".

"This analysis is ongoing and we are developing wind-down plans for relevant business to ensure appropriate termination within the defined periods", he said. It cited, for instance, Trump's earlier dumping of the Paris climate change agreement with a promise to provide a better deal that he hasn't fulfilled.

The White House said Trump had spoken with French President Emmanuel Macron on Saturday and "reiterated the need for a comprehensive deal that addresses all aspects of Iran's destabilizing activity in the Middle East".

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

"Let's not fool ourselves that there are dozens of things we can do", said a second senior European diplomat.

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"We reaffirmed together our resolve to continue to implement the nuclear deal in all its parts in good faith and in a constructive atmosphere", Federica Mogherini told a press conference late Tuesday after talks with the foreign ministers of France, Germany, the United Kingdom and Iran.

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