Published: Thu, May 17, 2018
Global News | By Blake Casey

Merkel Defends Nuclear Agreement with Iran

Merkel Defends Nuclear Agreement with Iran

Asked on arrival at a summit of European Union leaders in Bulgaria if he was concerned about an announcement by French oil major Total that it may pull out of Iran after Washington pulled out of the nuclear agreement, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), Macron said it was up to firms active in various markets to make their own decisions, Reuters reported. "They should continue to have this freedom", he said. The 2015 nuclear agreement is a crucial element of peace and security in the region.

French President Emmanuel Macron said the bloc was working to keep the existing agreement alive "so that our businesses can remain" in Iran.

Sanctions are already beginning to bite with French energy giant Total preparing to pull out of a billion dollar gas project in Iran.

European leaders have arrived at a summit in Sofia in a bid to save the Iran nuclear deal in the wake of Donald Trump's decision to re-impose sanctions on the Islamic Republic.

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

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German Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel criticized in the lower house of parliament (Bundestag), the withdrawal of the United States government from the nuclear agreement with Iran.

The summit also comes at a time Facebook is under pressure in the United States and Europe over data privacy after it emerged tens of millions of users' personal data was harvested from the site by political consultancy Cambridge Analytica.

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".

The 28 anxious EU leaders are gathering in the Bulgarian capital for discussions over dinner on how to salvage the nuclear deal and European business dealings with Iran from Trump's sanctions.

They are all but certain to fall short of the type of firm guarantees that the Iranian authorities have been seeking.

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