EU to hold high-level meeting on Iran nuclear deal as Middle East tensions rise

The European Union is slated to chair a meeting of the countries involved in the Iran nuclear deal at the end of June, as tensions between the U.S. and Tehran continue to escalate.

High-level representatives from China, France, Germany, Russia, Britain and Iran will attend the meeting -- the purpose of which is to ensure the "continued implementation" of the nuclear deal, the bloc said in a statement on Thursday.

The Obama-era deal has come under increased pressure after President Trump announced more than one year ago that Washington would withdraw from the foreign policy initiative, bucking U.S. allies while imposing a punishing round of economic sanctions.

Representatives in the meeting hope to address "challenges arising from the withdrawal and re-imposition of sanctions by the United States on Iran," as well as Iran’s announcement earlier this week that it could break the limits set on its uranium stockpile by the 2015 deal.

News of the meeting comes in the midst of rising concerns about the possibility of a military confrontation between the U.S. and Iran after an Iranian missile shot down a U.S. spy drone over the Strait of Hormuz. Officials in Tehran and Washington have disputed whether the drone was in Iranian airspace or not.

Trump confirmed in a tweet that the U.S. was "cocked & loaded" to retaliate on Thursday night, but that he ultimately decided against doing so because 150 people would have died.


"I stop it, not proportionate to shooting down an unmanned drone. I am in no hurry, our Military is rebuilt, new,  and ready to go, by far the best in the world. Sanctions are biting & more added last night. Iran can NEVER have Nuclear Weapons, not against the USA, and not against the WORLD!" he added.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.