German leader argues for preserving Iran deal

Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif met European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini at the EU Council in Brussels to try to salvage the nuclear deal. Francois Lenoir  Reuters

France, Macron said, backed proposals by the European Commission to protect and compensate European companies that might be hit by U.S. sanctions for trading with Iran. "The 2015 deal is an important element of peace and security in the region, and we chose to back it regardless of the USA decision", he stressed. "We promised to take political measures that would allow our enterprises to stay in Iran", he said. "We need to add the clauses on nuclear program after 2025, agreement on ballistic missiles and Iran's conduct in the region", he said.

"International companies with interests in many countries make their own choices according to their own interests".

British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said before the meeting in Brussels that "the United Kingdom and our European partners continue to view the nuclear deal as vital for our shared security, and remain fully committed to upholding it".

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"But what is important is that companies and especially medium-sized companies which are perhaps less exposed to other markets, American or others, can make this choice freely", Emmanuel Macron said.

Ignoring European support for the nuclear pact, U.S. President Donald Trump branded the agreement as "the worst deal ever" and announced on May 8 the United States was pulling out.

"Everyone in the European Union agrees that is not ideal, but we should stay in it and on this basis conduct negotiations with Iran on other issues, for example on the ballistic missile program", the German chancellor noted.

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Other companies which have warned they would wind down business in Iran following reinstated sanctions include German insurer Allianz, Siemens and Danish oil product tanker operator Maersk Tankers, previously owned by the Maersk conglomerate.

Tehran expressed his opposition to Trump's move, as well as German Chancellor Angela Merkel and her French counterpart Emmanuel Macron expressed concerns over Washington's decision.

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