In the aftermath of Washington's pullout, Europeans are seeking ways to protect the interests of their firms doing business in Iran and help them escape the brunt of the upcoming U.S. sanctions. "And if it continued, it would have given Iran extraordinary economic benefits without any guarantees of Iranian performance".
"We all agreed that we have a relative in intensive care and we all want to get him or her out of intensive care as quickly as possible", European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini told reporters after the 90-minute meeting.
"Our meeting with Mrs Mogherini was good and constructive".
Le Drian said the new sanctions regime would also affect the U.S. and that Europeans would "put in place the necessary measures to protect the interests of our companies and start negotiations with Washington" on the matter.
It is the only major Western energy company that plunged into a business deal with Iran once sanctions were lifted in 2016, signing a $1 billion investment in the offshore South Pars gas field.
"The Prime Minister reiterated the government's position on the Iran nuclear deal, noting that we and our European partners remain firmly committed to ensuring the deal is upheld, as the best way of preventing Iran from developing a nuclear weapon", a spokesman said.
Nevertheless, he underlined the importance for European powers along with Russian Federation and China to "compensate Iran, find a compromise [on the nuclear issue] and rein in Israel's military activity [targeting Iranian assets in Syria]".
"The final aim of these negotiations is to seek assurances that the interests of the Iranian nation will be defended", Zarif said at the start of a meeting.
Russian media further cited Zarif as saying that Tehran and Moscow would do their utmost to keep the Iran deal in place less than a week after US President Donald Trump announced Washington's withdrawal from the JCPOA despite earlier global warnings and pleas for the White House not to attack yet another worldwide agreement.
German exports to Iran totalled almost 3 billion euros in 2017, while French exports soared from 562 million euros in 2015 to 1.5 billion in 2017 and oil giant Total has pledged to invest some $5 billion in the South Pars gas field.
European diplomats acknowledged that the EU support, however honest, risked looking hollow after Trump last week reimposed an array of wide sanctions on the Islamic Republic that will hit European companies investing in Iran.
"We have to accept, be realistic about the electrified rail, the live wire of American extraterritoriality and how that can serve as a deterrent to businesses", Johnson said.
Mohammad Javad Zarif's diplomatic tour took him to Beijing at the weekend and will see him visit Brussels later in the week, as the worldwide backers of the 2015 accord scrabble to save it.
"Let's not fool ourselves that are that dozens of things we can do", said a second senior European diplomat.
Washington has long complained that the nuclear deal does nothing to stop Iran's ballistic missile programme or its interference in conflicts across the Middle East from Syria to Yemen.
"I'm hopeful in the days and weeks ahead we can come up with a deal that really works, that really protects the world from Iranian bad behaviour, not just their nuclear program, but their missiles and their malign behaviour as well", he said.
Despite the USA exit, Britain and Iran expressed their commitment on Sunday to ensuring that the accord is upheld, according to a statement released by British Prime Minister Theresa May's office.