The European Union’s foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini met with the foreign ministers of France, Germany, the United Kingdom and Iran on May 16 to discuss common lines and the work ahead, following the United States’ decision to withdraw from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.

“We, together, regretted the withdrawal of the United States from the Iran nuclear deal and we recognised that the lifting of nuclear-related sanctions and the normalisation of trade and economic relations with Iran constitute essential parts of the agreement,” Mogherini told a press conference after the meeting.

“We stressed the commitment we all share to ensure that this will continue to be delivered and we agreed to this end to deepen our dialogue at all levels,” she added. “By the way, our experts were working together already today for many hours.”

The Iran nuclear deal will also be discussed during the next Foreign Affairs Council on May 28.

“The issue of what we can ensure or guarantee is something I want to address very clearly,” Mogherini told reporters. “We are operating in a very difficult context and this is something the European people know, the Iranian people know, the leaderships know. It is a difficult environment after exactly this time last week we heard President [of the United States, Donald] Trump‘s announcement.”

Asked whether the Iranian government provided a timeframe that considers to be a minimum to find solutions, Mogherini said: “On the issue of the timing, there was no unpleasant negotiating style exercise among us. We all share the same objective related to the full implementation of the [Iran nuclear deal].

“If we want to save this deal – which is not an easy exercise – we know that the sooner we manage to do it, the better and the easier it will be.”

Mogherini used a metaphor to describe the situation: “We all have a relative in intensive care and we all want to get him or her out of intensive care as soon as possible… Tonight, the main goal is to save the Iran deal and to preserve all its provisions.”