EU moves to protect European firms from US sanctions on Iran

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"It is time for responsible nations to bring pressure on Iran to change this risky behavior", she added.

In a separate development, Yemen's Houthi rebel group fired at least one missile at Saudi Arabia on Wednesday. The White House said both condemned the rocket attacks.

The comments by Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami followed a week of escalating tensions that threaten to spill over into a wider conflict between the two bitter enemies.

Protesters burned an American flag and railed against the USA and Israel after emerging from Friday prayers in Tehran.

Zarif further censured the U.S. under Trump for developing the habit of voicing opposition to worldwide deals and regulations. Now, we must see if this global agreement to prevent Tehran from obtaining a nuclear weapon can survive without the backing of the United States of America-and what consequences will unfold from the President's decision.

The leaders of Great Britain, Germany, and France, Theresa May, Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron called on all the participants to continue implementing the agreements fully.

Although most analysts believe the U.S. withdrawal has effectively scuppered the agreement, Iran s foreign minister talked up the prospects of its survival on Sunday while visiting China, another of the signatories.

Although it is rare to sanction central bank officials, the US has done it before. The grouping includes Kazakhstan, Belarus, Armenia and Kyrgyzstan. Signed in 2015, JCPOA lifted crippling sanctions imposed on Iran's nuclear program.

The move follows the recent U.S. withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal explained by Washington by the alleged flows in the arrangement.

"This deal is not a bilateral treaty. She said it was important to avoid provocative actions to ensure peace and security in the region", BBC reported.

Representatives from Iran, the UK, France and Germany are to meet in Brussels on Tuesday.

Since the deal took effect in 2016 major European firms have rushed to do billions of dollars' worth of business with Iran, and now thousands of jobs are at stake. "In the current situation, it seems the apparent conflicts between the USA and the three European states over the fate of the JCPOA are in fact a labour division made among them".

The US says firms have six months to halt business and can not enter into new contracts or they will face sanctions.

He added: "As the president of the republic has said, we are ready for all option (s)".

The challenge for Rouhani is to maintain his diplomatic efforts in the face of mounting challenges at home, where Iranians were already suffering high unemployment and inflation before Trump's decision.

President Donald Trump's announcement on Tuesday that the USA was exiting the 2015 nuclear accord was met with widespread dismay by its other signatories - Britain, China, France, Germany and Russian Federation.

Trump hit back Saturday evening, tweeting that the accord had failed to contain Iran's militarism.

Trump pulled America out of the 2015 accord on Tuesday.

Zarif made no mention of the flare-up with Israel, but said the country had the right to defend itself, particularly in the light of the eight-year war with Iraq that began when the regime of Saddam Hussein invaded Iran in 1980.

In addition, Israel has taken offense to Iran's continued military build-up in Syria. "The general mood music is that it's going to be very hard", she said. I think it was testing the limits of the deals provisions, exceeding them in some cases. One option is to invoke a never-before-used "blocking mechanism" that would direct European Union businesses to ignore the USA sanctions.

EU Foreign Policy Chief Federica Mogherini will meet with foreign ministers from the UK, France and Germany today to discuss the future of the Iran nuclear deal after the USA president has announced his intention to withdraw from the accord. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has constantly maintained that Iran is sticking to the terms of the agreement and is not cheating, a fact independently verified by the US military as well.

According to Ms Mogherini, the deal is capable of surviving without United States support as long as Iran continues to agree to stand by it. In this case, the US chose to also impose "secondary sanctions", which also apply to non-Americans and non-U.S. companies.

We will make it clear to Zarif "that we stand by the agreements and also expect Iran to abide by them", said German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas.

"It's time that European countries opened their eyes", Le Maire said on Europe 1 radio.