17:31 GMT +319 December 2018
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    French President Emmanuel Macron waves to someone in the crowd as he and U.S. President Donald Trump conclude their joint news conference in the East Room of the White House in Washington, U.S., April 24, 2018

    EU to Ensure Presence of Companies in Iran Despite US JCPOA Withdrawal – Macron

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    French President Emmanuel Macron said that nuclear deal with Iran should be supplemented and it is necessary to continue negotiations, including on missile program.

    The EU states intend to ensure the presence of their companies in Iran despite the US withdrawal from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), also known as the Iran nuclear deal, French President Emmanuel Macron said on Thursday.

    Emmanuel Macron said that the European Union decided to preserve nuclear deal and defend EU companies.

    Our main interest in Iran is not in trade, but in ensuring stability in the region, at the same time, we will not become an ally of Iran against the US, he added.

    "We had a rich discussion on Iran. The nuclear agreement of 2015 is an important element of peace and security in the region, and we decided to support it, whatever the US decision was. We promised to take political measures that would allow our enterprises to stay in Iran," he said.

    The nuclear deal with Iran must not only be preserved, but also supplemented and expanded to include ways to solve the missile problem and questions about Iran's role in the region, Macron said.

    READ MORE: France Wants to Defend EU Firms From US Sanctions on Iran — French Minister

    "Europe will defend its sovereignty in the field of trade," he said before the EU-Western Balkans summit in Sofia.

    "International companies with interests in many countries make their own choices according to their own interests. They should continue to have this freedom," he added.

    "But what is important is that companies and especially medium-sized companies which are perhaps less exposed to other markets, American or others, can make this choice freely," Emmanuel Macron said.

    Earlier, President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker said that: "At this point, we have to replace the United States, which as an international actor has lost vigor, and because of it, in the long term, influence."

    On May 8, US President Donald Trump announced his decision to withdraw the United States from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). He also vowed to reinstate the sanctions against Iran that were lifted as a result of the agreement.

    Tehran expressed his opposition to Trump's move, as well as German Chancellor Angela Merkel and her French counterpart Emmanuel Macron expressed concerns over Washington's decision.

    The JCPOA has ensured the peaceful nature of Iran's nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief since it was signed by the P5+1, EU, and Tehran in 2015.

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    Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), European Union, Emmanuel Macron, Iran, France
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