Germany's Merkel defies Trump, defends Iran nuclear deal

Emmanuel Macron and Angela Merkel

Germany has joined its European allies in reaffirming support for the Iran nuclear deal in defiance of the USA that pulled out of the landmark agreement last week.

USA officials have threatened to sanction European companies that keep doing business with Iran, even though those nations are obliged to do so under the nuclear deal they are still a part of.

"Europe will defend its sovereignty in the field of trade", he said before the EU-Western Balkans summit in Sofia.

The trio will "present their assessment of the situation" to their colleagues over dinner, it was reported.

On Wednesday, French energy group Total said it would pull out of a multibillion-dollar gas project in Iran if it couldn't secure a waiver from the USA sanctions. He also vowed to reinstate the sanctions against Iran that were lifted as a result of the agreement.

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The German chancellor echoed sentiments on Wednesday by other major European countries, which maintain that the deal is the most effective way to stop the increasingly influential regional power from obtaining an atomic weapon.

"I would like our debate to reconfirm without any doubt that as long as Iran respects the provisions of the deal, the European Union will also respect it", the chairman of the gathering, Donald Tusk, said before the meeting in the Bulgarian capital Sofia.

"The question is whether you can talk better if you terminate an agreement or if you stay in it. we say you can talk better if you remain in it", she said, according to Reuters.

Washington has given European firms doing business in Iran up to six months to wind up investments or risk U.S. sanctions and they are also forbidden from signing any new contracts with Iran. "The Europeans should not have to pay for the withdrawal of an agreement by the United States, to which they had themselves contributed".

European Commission head Jean-Claude Juncker was due to present options to protect the substantial European investment in Iran.

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