European Firms Start Pulling Back From Iran

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Participants of the EU summit have chose to support the Iran nuclear deal and protect European businesses from the U.S. steps, French President Emmanuel Macron said as he arrived for the EU-Western Balkans summit in Sofia on Thursday.

"Europe will defend its sovereignty in the field of trade", he said before the EU-Western Balkans summit in Sofia. "They should continue to have this freedom", he added".

European Union leaders meeting in Sofia have backed a "united" approach to keeping the deal alive after US President Donald Trump pulled out and reimposed sanctions, complaining the accord did nothing to stop Iran's ballistic missile programme or interference in Middle East conflicts.

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However, EU officials say there is no easy way to protect EU firms from US sanctions and that it will take time for the bloc to devise what will likely be a complex mix of national and EU-level measures.

On May 11, Merkel criticized the decision of US President Donald Trump to withdraw the United States from the agreement with Iran, as she said, 'it is wrong to unilaterally cancel a pact unanimously approved by the Security Council of United Nations'.

Total on Wednesday said it might quit a multi-billion-dollar gas project unless it secured a waiver from US sanctions.

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CEO Soren Skou told Reuters on Thursday that A.P. Moller-Maersk was following suit.

Earlier, President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker said that: "At this point, we have to replace the United States, which as an global actor has lost vigor, and because of it, in the long term, influence".

"We had a rich discussion on Iran". He also vowed to reinstate the sanctions against Iran that were lifted as a result of the agreement.

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