Rocky road ahead for European Union over Iran nuke deal

French Foreign Affairs Minister Jean Yves Le Drian leaves the Elysee Presidential palace in Paris

"It is clear that there is extra-territorial reach to some of these sanctions", said Rona Fairhead, a trade department minister in the upper house of the British parliament, acknowledging that the sanctions would have an impact on trade between Iran and countries other than the United States.

"If we want to stay in this agreement and ensure that Iran stays in this agreement and abides to the terms of the agreement, then we need to talk about this", he said.

Mogherini confirmed that deputy foreign ministers from the three European nations and Iran would meet in Vienna next week for an "experts talk".

The European Union together with Britain, France and Germany support further implementation of the nuclear agreement with Iran, despite the USA decision to withdraw from it.

Iran has said it may start enriching uranium again if it can no longer see any economic benefit from sticking to the deal, which lifted earlier worldwide sanctions on the Islamic Republic in exchange for it curbing its nuclear ambitions.

Trump's decision means that USA sanctions, held in check by a presidential veto until now, could soon hit Iran and European companies doing business there.

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The discussion will focus on, among others, how to maintain economic relations and effective banking transactions with Iran in the context of renewed U.S sanctions, according to Mogherini. The U.S. pulled out of the pact last week and promised to impose tough economic sanctions on Iran.

He admitted though that United States sanction would "serve as a deterrent to businesses".

"We are talking about solutions to keep the deal alive", she said, adding that measures would seek to allow Iran to keep exporting oil and for European banks to continue to operate.

In one of a series of meetings, foreign ministers from Britain, France and Germany — signatories of the 2015 deal to stop Iran developing nuclear weapons — were to hold talks with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, amid concerns that the sanctions will also damage European business interests. Instead, they were working to keep Iran in the deal at all and find ways to compensate Tehran for doing so.

After a 90-minute closed-door discussion, the European Union foreign policy chief Mogherini confirmed that the group is looking for a quick practical solution to salvage the agreement and it would reconvene in a week at deputy foreign ministers level.

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