European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini is expected to host a meeting Tuesday with the foreign ministers of Britain, France and Germany in Brussels to discuss the future of the Iran nuclear deal, now that U.S. President Donald Trump has announced the United States is pulling out of the deal.
The EU's External Action Service made the statement Friday, adding that Iran's foreign minister Javad Zarif also is expected to meet with the three foreign ministers and the EU's Mogherini.
Meanwhile, French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire has said Europe should not think of the United States as the "world's economic policeman" and urged consideration of French interests when deciding what to do next about the Iran deal.
In an interview Friday on Europe-1 radio, Le Maire said European nations must defend their "economic sovereignty."
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Friday the withdrawal of the United States from the Iran nuclear deal undermines confidence in the global order. But she added that the development does not warrant scrapping the deal.
Merkel and Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke Friday about the U.S. decision. Their offices say they both emphasized the continued goal of preserving the deal.
Russia also has announced it is pursuing a free trade pact with Iran, along with its former Soviet allies Kazakhstan, Belarus, Armenia and Kyrgyzstan.
On Wednesday, Trump warned Iran there would be "very severe consequences" if it starts developing nuclear weapons in the wake of the U.S. withdrawal from a 2015 international pact aimed at restraining Tehran's nuclear program.
Trump said the United States would "very shortly" reimpose economic sanctions in an attempt to force Iran to negotiate new terms on the deal, its ballistic missile tests and military advances in Syria, Yemen and elsewhere in the Middle East.
The U.S. leader accused Iran of creating "bedlam and death" in the region.
Trump's comments came as the other five signatories to the accord — Germany, Britain, France, Russia and China — all voiced renewed support for the deal.