BRUSSELS (AP) _ The European Union's foreign policy chief says a meeting of the foreign ministers of France, Britain, Germany, and Iran has yielded a blueprint for further talks to salvage the Iran nuclear deal after the United States pulled out.
"The ultimate goal of all these negotiations is to obtain assurances that the Iranian people's interests guaranteed by the JCPOA will be protected", he was quoted as saying by Interfax news agency on Monday.
"I want to stress we are under no illusion about the stuff Iran gets up to in the region, in the Middle East".
Europe is scrambling to come up with ways to persuade Iran to stick with the landmark 2015 agreement despite US President Donald Trump ditching it a week ago. Russia, which sells arms to Iran and is involved in oil and gas facility and nuclear power plant construction in Iran, has already announced that the US withdrawal from the nuclear deal will actually help Russia.
By the close of business on Friday Crude Oil was trading above US$77
United States sanctions on Iran will have a six-month period during which buyers should "wind down" oil purchases, meaning any loss of supply will not be immediately felt in the market.
"One of the questions that we need to ask the Americans is whether their final objective is to make the Iranians yield on its nuclear programme or to get rid of the regime", said a senior French official, acknowledging that Paris was concerned by the ideological shift in Washington since John Bolton was appointed U.S. National Security Advisor.
Many Europeans, like Ms. Tocci, believe that the unstated American aim is "regime change" in Iran, something that the British and French foreign ministers, Boris Johnson and Mr. Le Drian, have specifically ruled out as a European goal.
"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.More news: Ford to resume F-150 production after MI supplier fire
Washington has long complained that the nuclear deal does nothing to stop Iran's ballistic missile programme or its interference in conflicts across the Middle East from Syria to Yemen.
European diplomats acknowledged that the EU support, however honest, risked looking hollow after Trump last week reimposed an array of wide sanctions on the Islamic Republic that will hit European companies investing in Iran.
Trump's move to ditch the nuclear deal has infuriated Washington's allies in Europe as well as China and Russian Federation.
"The Europeans have repeated on several occasions that they will not be able to resist U.S. sanctions". European governments are casting about for ways to protect their firms from running afoul of USA sanctions, which has led to threats from Brussels and counter-threats from White House National Security Advisor John Bolton.More news: Walmart has a new website for wealthy shoppers - here's what it's like
Following Tuesday's evening talks in Brussels, all 28 European Union leaders are expected to discuss their next steps at a summit in Sofia on Wednesday, but no decisions are expected.
According to O Sullivan, where they will begin to develop a "coherent and consistent policy measures for the conservation of European business interests in Iran, while protecting your investment from the USA sanctions".
"We could have pushed the Europeans a lot harder, to work with us", Gates said on "Face the Nation".More news: Karolina Pliskova Hits Umpire's Chair With Racket After Loss