EU seeks to deescalate Persian Gulf tensions

In this photo released by the official website of the office of the Iranian Presidency, President Hassan Rouhani speaks in a meeting during his provincial tour to the North Khorasan, Iran, Sunday, July 14, 2019. Rouhani said his country is ready to negotiate with the United States if Washington lifts its economic sanctions. (Iranian Presidency Office via AP)

BRUSSELS — European Union nations are looking to deescalate tension in the Persian Gulf area and call on Iran to stick to the 2015 nuclear deal despite the pullout of the United States and the re-imposition of sanctions.

Dutch foreign minister Stef Blok said on Monday that "it is still not too late, but Iran really has to stick to its obligations."

At their regular monthly meeting, the EU foreign minister will also look to drum up further support for its barter-type system to trade with Tehran and get around possible U.S. sanctions. Ten nations are already on board.

Iran has said it needs improved economic ties with Europe since the United States has re-imposed harsh sanctions on Tehran's oil exports, exacerbating an economic crisis that has sent its currency plummeting.

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