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FILE PHOTO: European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini arrives for the second day of a NATO summit in Brussels, Belgium, July 12, 2018. Tatyana Zenkovich/Pool via REUTERS

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BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Union agreed 18 million euros (£16.1 million) in aid for Iran on Thursday, including for the private sector, to help offset the impact of U.S. sanctions and salvage a 2015 deal that saw Tehran limit its nuclear ambitions.

The announcement is part of the bloc's high-profile efforts to support the nuclear accord that President Donald Trump abandoned in May. It is part of a wider package of 50 million euros earmarked for Iran in the EU budget.

The EU is working to maintain trade with Iran, which has threatened to stop complying with the nuclear agreement if it fails to see the economic benefits of relief from sanctions.

The bloc's foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said in a statement the bloc was committed to cooperation with Iran.

"This new package will widen economic and sectoral relations in areas that are of direct benefit to our citizens," she said.

The bloc will spend 8 million euros on the Islamic Republic's private sector, including assistance for small and medium-sized enterprises and Iran's Trade Promotion Organisation.

A further 8 million euros will go to environmental projects and 2 million euros to fighting harm caused by drugs.

(Reporting by Alissa de Carbonnel @AdeCar, Editing by Gabriela Baczynska)

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Reuters