In one of a series of meetings, foreign ministers from Britain, France and Germany - signatories of the 2015 deal to stop Iran developing nuclear weapons - were to hold talks with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, amid concerns that the sanctions will also damage European business interests.
The Iranian nuclear agreement is not ideal, but it is wrong to abandon the deal now, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said.
The conflict in Syria has taken an enormous scale and can not be settled without the participation of Russia, Turkey, Iran, Europe and other regional powers, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Wednesday.
"The question is whether you can talk better if you terminate an agreement or if you stay in it. we say you can talk better if you remain in it", she said.
Merkel described the deal as "everything other than ideal", but argued that worldwide nuclear authorities said Iran was sticking to its commitments.
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For her part, Sahra Wagenknecht, president of the opposition Left Party (Die Linke), supported Merkel's position on the JCPOA and said that 'we have demanded a more autonomous and independent policy from the United States, and we are happy that we are no longer alone on that position'.
Meanwhile, Tehran is looking for guarantees from Europe that the deal can continue without the United States and warned it could restart its nuclear programme if talks fail.
Major European powers have sought to keep Iran in a landmark global nuclear agreement after President Donald Trump pulled the USA out of the pact and promised tough economic sanctions against Tehran.
Merkel said the Europeans aren't "blind" to threats posed by Iran's activities in Syria to Israel, for example. "The Iranian nation will resist the USA plots", Iranian news agencies quoted Rohani as saying.
European powers this week vowed to shore up the deal by trying to keep Iran's oil and investment flowing, but admitted they would struggle to provide the guarantees Tehran seeks.