"It is going to be very hard for us to preserve the economic benefits of the Iran deal", one senior European diplomat said.
The EU, which with Germany, France, Britain, Russia, China and the United States signed the nuclear accord, does have some steps it can take to shield European business in Iran.
Both Iranian president Hassan Rouhani and supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei have suggested that Iran could choose to remain bound by the agreement - which, in return for sanctions relief, restricts the size and scope of Iran's nuclear program and subjects it to thorough worldwide inspections - despite United States violations.
Brent crude had a patchy performance last month, reaching three-year highs on Iran supply fears but losing on US President Donald Trump's criticism of high prices.
Yet the way Trump chose to pull out of the agreement - by immediately re-imposing all USA sanctions that had been levied prior to the deal's implementation and leaving the door open for additional sanctions beyond that - may have been a bit surprising.
Moscow considers it possible to preserve the Iran nuclear deal with sufficient political will of its participants and despite the US' withdrawal.
"We are stakeholders in the Vienna agreement and we are going to stay stakeholders", Le Drian told reporters in Dublin on Sunday. German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas acknowledged, however, that protecting European companies from potential USA penalties could be hard.
Divisions in Iran over how it should respond to the U.S. pullout were illustrated as senior cleric Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami told worshippers at Tehran University on Friday that European nations could not be trusted. "It depends on the conduct of other governments".
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But Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Washington was keen to thrash out a more wide-ranging deal with its European partners.
Within minutes of the President's announcement, Mrs May, French president Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel issued a joint statement expressing their "regret and concern". European diplomats acknowledged that the EU support, however honest, risked looking hollow after Trump reimposed an array of wide sanctions last week on Iran that will hit European companies investing there. "Now, that will not happen!"
Iran is scrambling to salvage the deal after US President Donald Trump announced last week that his country will be withdrawing from it and reimposing sanctions against Tehran.
The Trump administration's demands that Iran abandon its aggressive posture in the Middle East also goes beyond what many European diplomats believe Iran would accept.
"We will be instituting the highest level of economic sanctions".
In an interview with ZDF public television, Altmaier noted the United States had set a 90-day deadline for foreign firms to comply with the return of sanctions and that this period could be used to convince Washington to change course. Macron told Trump in their telephone call on Saturday that he was anxious about stability in the Middle East, according to Macron's office.
While Britain has urged the United States not to undermine the nuclear deal, few major British companies actually operate in Iran.
"Guarantees of benefits of the JCPOA should be given to Iran".
Despite complaints in European capitals, Mr. Bolton suggested that European allies might agree to new USA approach once they digest Mr. Trump's decision and face the threat of sanctions. The same may be said of another key USA policy - Mr Trump's economic protectionism.