Arriving in Vienna, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said preserving the deal was critical, and that the treaty states would send a "united, determined and strong signal" that they were committed to it despite U.S. President Donald Trump's decision in May to pull out American support.
But Washington has also warned European allies that they face possible penalties if they violate USA sanctions, which Washington says are aimed at reducing Iranian oil exports to "zero" - a level that would deprive Iran's economy of its principal source of revenue and economic growth.
Trump announced on May 8 that Washington was walking away from the nuclear agreement, which was reached between Iran and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council - the United States, Britain, France, Russia and China - Germany, and the European Union in 2015.
Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif has called on European powers to implement economic measures to protect the 2015 nuclear deal before USA sanctions against Tehran snap back between August and November.
This was extrapolated by USA officials as a threaten to shut down all regional oil shipping, when it could just as easily be interpreted as noting that Iran can basically export its oil under the guise of it coming from other regional countries, which is common behavior during sanctions.
Foreign ministers from three European nations along with Russian Federation and China agreed on an 11-point list of joint goals, saying they remained committed to the nuclear accord and to building up economic relations with Iran, including "the continuation of Iran's export of oil and gas" and other energy products.
"We are trying to do it (economic package) before sanctions are imposed at the start of August and then the next set of sanctions in November".
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Iran's President Hassan Rouhani had Thursday told French President Emmanuel Macron by phone that the European offer of economic measures did "not meet all our demands", Iran's state news agency IRNA reported.
The Iranian president said there was no action plan or "a clear method in the proposed package for the continuation of cooperation and, similar to the previous European Union statements, it only contained general commitments".
The news follows a threat by Iran to cut off oil reserves to the rest of the world in the wake of conflict with the US. Several major firms - including France's Total and Peugeot, and Russia's Lukoil - have said they are preparing to leave.
"We want to make it clear to Iran today that it still has economic benefits from this agreement", Maas told reporters.
Since Trump's announcement, Iran's rial currency has fallen, prices have risen and the country has been hit by street protests and strikes.
Iran, which strongly denies ever seeking to build a nuclear bomb, has warned it could resume uranium enrichment for civilian purposes if the deal collapses.
In a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of a summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) in June, President Rouhani said Russia plays a key role in maintaining the nuclear deal after U.S. withdrawal.