Merkel: EU countries agree Iran nuclear deal 'not perfect'

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"International companies with interests in many countries make their own choices according to their own interests".

Leaders of European states will maintain the nuclear deal with Iran and protect their corporations against potential U.S. sanctions for doing business in the Islamic Republic, according to French President Emmanuel Macron.

Emmanuel Macron
GETTYEmmanuel Macron is pushing his agenda for eurozone reform

The EU wants to salvage the Iran nuclear deal, which offers the Islamic Republic relief from economic sanctions in exchange for curbs on its nuclear program and Europe sees as an important element of worldwide security.

French President Emmanuel Macron said the bloc was working to keep the existing agreement alive "so that our businesses can remain" in Iran. "They should continue to have this freedom", he added".

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

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

"I don't know the exact timing details, but I am certain that we're also going to shut down (in Iran)", Skou told Reuters in an interview following Maersk's first-quarter earnings.

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'.

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.