Merkel Defends Nuclear Agreement with Iran

EU countries agree Iran deal'not perfect: Merkel

Major European powers have sought to keep Iran in a landmark global nuclear agreement after President Donald Trump pulled the USA out of the pact and promised tough economic sanctions against Tehran.

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.

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".

The EU wants to salvage the Iran nuclear deal, which offers the Islamic Republic relief from economic sanctions in exchange for curbs on its nuclear program and Europe sees as an important element of worldwide security.

"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. "We have opted to support it whatever the USA decides to do", said the French president on arrival at the Sofia summit.

Total on Wednesday said it might quit a multi-billion-dollar gas project unless it secured a waiver from US sanctions.

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"We've had a vibrant discussion on Iran".

"I don't know the exact timing details, but I am certain that we're also going to shut down (in Iran)", Skou told Reuters in an interview following Maersk's first-quarter earnings.

On May 8, US President Donald Trump refused to keep his country in the nuclear deal, which was achieved in Vienna in 2015 after years of negotiations.

But the reach of the US financial system, the dominance of the dollar and the presence of European companies' operations in the United States all weaken any potential EU measures.

European Union leaders meeting in Sofia have backed a "united" approach to keeping the deal alive after US President Donald Trump pulled out and reimposed sanctions, complaining the accord did nothing to stop Iran's ballistic missile program or interference in Middle East conflicts.

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