European and Iranian foreign ministers are working to salvage the nuclear deal, after President Donald Trump pulled the U.S. out of the pact.
European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said European and Iranian officials held talks to address various challenges — from maintaining and deepening economic, transport and financial relations, to protecting European companies doing business with Iran in light of promised U.S. economic sanctions against the Islamic Republic.
Despite reported calls for a new or broader deal, Mogherini said the goal was to retain the 2015 agreement.
“If we want to save this deal — which is not an easy exercise — but if we want to save this deal, we know that the sooner we manage to do it, the better,” Mogherini said. “Again, it will not be easy. … But if I can use the metaphor, we all have a relative in intensive care, and we want to get him out of intensive care as soon as possible.”
Mogherini spoke after talks Tuesday between the foreign ministers from Britain, France and Germany and their Iranian counterpart, Mohammed Javad Zarif.
Zarif said Tehran wants to make sure that the interests of the deal’s “remaining participants, particularly Iran, will be preserved and guaranteed.”
Trump said the agreement was insufficient in curbing Iran’s nuclear program and its role in Middle East conflicts, and in addressing what happens after the deal expires.
Mogherini, however, said the EU believes the nuclear deal should be considered separately from other areas of disagreement with Iran.
“We are, and we have always been, clear on this: There are more chances and more possibilities to open avenues of discussions on other issues, if the Iranian deal stays in place rather than not,” she said.
European leaders will be discussing the nuclear deal at a summit in Bulgaria that starts Wednesday.