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Instead, Iran is talking with Europe, Russia and China to see if the deal can be kept alive, though that is far from assured.

The U.S. withdrawal from the Iran deal has upset Washington's European allies, cast uncertainty over global oil supplies and raised the risk of conflict in the Middle East.

Zarif later told a joint news conference with Lavrov that "the final aim of these negotiations is to seek assurances that the interests of the Iranian nation will be safeguarded".

But last week US President Donald Trump announced he was leaving the deal and reimposing sanctions.

"Since the signing of the JCPOA (nuclear deal), we have gone from an atmosphere like a gold rush, to one of utter depression", said a Western trade diplomat on condition of anonymity.

New Zealand businesses would suffer if the government gave in to threats from the United States over sanctions on dealings with Iran, Iran's ambassador to New Zealand says.

"China is highly concerned with the direction of the Iranian nuclear issue and is willing to maintain communication with all relevant parties, including Iran", Geng Shuang, spokesman for China's ministry of Foreign Affairs, said ahead of Zarif's arrival. This is while the UN's atomic watchdog, the IAEA, have in 10 periodical reports since the JCPOA's implementation in January 2016 testified to Iran's abidance by the deal.

If the United States punishes European companies for doing business with Iran, foreign companies will likely walk away from Iran. After years of crippling economic sanctions, the deal opened Iran to business with the USA and Europe, and companies around the world began doing business in Iran.

"[New Zealand companies] will lose in this sanction, we can buy, for example butter, from many other countries, that is why it is not in favour of New Zealand, it will not serve the New Zealand companies' interests".

Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif attends a meeting with European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini at the EU Council in Brussels, Belgium, on May 15, 2018.

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 United States sanctions.

The White House has already began a fresh push to put pressure on Iran and Washington's European allies.

The sanctions will target critical sectors of Iran's economy, including petrochemicals, energy and finance.

White House national security adviser John Bolton said USA sanctions on European companies that maintain business dealings with Iran were "possible", while Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said he remained hopeful Washington and its allies could strike a new nuclear deal with Tehran.

This article has been adapted from its original source.

"We wanted to make very clear that we can not accept the extraterritorial nature of the American sanctions", added Le Maire, who said he wants the USA administration to grant waivers on certain activities by French businesses.

"Yesterday, we witnessed a very unsafe behavior from the side of the same regime towards Jerusalem", he said while commenting on the expected relocation of the USA embassy.


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