EU leaders agree to unite to keep Iran deal alive

European Union leaders meet in Bulgaria, say they will continue to support Iran nuclear deal as long as Iran respects it.

Ben Ariel ,

European Union flag
European Union flag

European Union leaders agreed on Wednesday on a "united EU approach" to keeping the Iran nuclear deal alive after U.S. President Donald Trump withdrew from it, AFP reported.

The 28 EU leaders also backed a plan for dealing with trade tariffs that Trump is imposing on European metals, saying that the "EU will not negotiate with a gun at its head", a European source told the news agency after the leaders met in Sofia, Bulgaria.

"The EU will continue fighting for a rules-based international system despite recent decisions on climate change, tariffs and Iran," the source said after the leaders met.

Trump announced last week that he would pull out of the Iran deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), and would reimpose sanctions on the Islamic Republic that were frozen as part of the agreement.

While Trump withdrew from the Iran deal and announced he would reimpose sanctions on Iran, the European Union did not follow suit, and said it would remain in the agreement and will do so “as long as Iran continues to implement its nuclear related commitments, as it is doing so far.”

EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said earlier this week that the European signatories to the agreement are talking about solutions to keep the deal alive.

At Wednesday’s meeting, the source told AFP, the leaders expressed backing for a plan including "EU support for JCPOA, as long as Iran respects the deal.”

They also agreed to "initiate work to protect European companies negatively affected by the U.S. decision," which involves Washington reimposing sanctions on Iran.