Theresa May has challenged Donald Trump on the impact of sanctions against Iran which will affect United Kingdom firms doing business there, amid a growing European backlash. The E.U. exported €10.8 billion in goods to Iran in 2017, and a number of European companies, including Siemens and Airbus, have signed deals with Iran.
Israel accused the Quds Force - the elite overseas operations arm of Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) - of launching 20 rockets at its military positions in Syria on Thursday morning.
"Do we accept extra-territorial sanctions?" We have the support of the Arab oil-producing monarchies and many others.
"They will come out swinging to provide Iran with moral and psychological support and demonstrate European Union defiance against president Trump's unilateralism", said Dr Sanam Vakil, an associate fellow at the foreign affairs think tank Chatham House.
Washington has long complained that the nuclear deal does nothing to stop Iran's ballistic missile program or its interference in conflicts across the Middle East from Syria to Yemen.
Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said last week he was highly doubtful that Europe would provide the "real guarantees" needed for Iran to stay in the nuclear deal.
It reiterated that Iran was preparing to resume "industrial-scale" uranium enrichment "without any restrictions" unless Europe provided solid guarantees that it could maintain trade ties despite renewed USA sanctions.
Mr Zarif is likely to seek assurances on European investments and the fate of a troubled 100-aircraft Airbus order following the United States decision to reinstate sanctions on the Islamic Republic, said analysts.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani is seen on Tuesday.
The statement said "the Iranian regime's reckless actions pose a severe threat to regional peace and security".
"If the nuclear deal is to continue, the interests of the people of Iran must be assured", Zarif added. One option is to invoke a never-before-used "blocking mechanism" that would direct European Union businesses to ignore the USA sanctions.
The US ambassador in Berlin, Richard Grenell, said firms should question the morality of doing business with Iran.
But even if Europe goes forward with such confrontational measures, its corporations might still see little profit in jeopardizing their access to the American market: Most companies have much less to gain by embracing Tehran than to lose by alienating Washington; America's banking system is more valuable than Iran's oil fields.
Le Maire proposed creating a European body that would have the same kind of powers that the U.S. Justice Department has to punish foreign companies for their trade practices.
While Israel is strongly supportive of President Trump's decision, the same can not be said for the United Kingdom, France and Germany.
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