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European allies regret Trump’s decision on Iran deal while Israel, Saudi back it

By PTI Updated: May 09, 2018 10:19 pm

Washington/London, May 9 (PTI): US President Donald Trump’s decision to dump the landmark Iran nuclear deal has shocked the world, with America’s closest allies like France, Germany and the UK expressing concern over it while Iran’s foes Israel and Saudi Arabia welcoming the move.

Trump yesterday announced that he would be pulling the US out of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, calling the agreement “defective at its core.”

The deal, also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), was negotiated and agreed to by Iran and the P5+1 (the US, UK, France, China, Russia and Germany).

The 2015 agreement curbed Iran’s nuclear activities in return for the lifting of UN, US and EU sanctions.

European leaders said they would stay committed to the accord even after Trump defied allies and other world leaders in breaking the commitment.

British Prime Minister Theresa May, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Emmanuel Macron and United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres have all warned Trump not to scrap the deal. However, they have also conceded that the pact negotiated by former president Barack Obama is far from perfect and needs some “fixes.”

In a joint statement after Trump’s announcement, May, Merkel and Macron emphasised their “concern” about Trump’s decision and said they would continue to adhere to the Iranian deal because it has made the world “a safer place.”

The statement called on the US to ensure that the structure of the deal stay intact and “avoid taking action which obstructs its full implementation by all other parties to the deal.”

“After engaging with the US Administration in a thorough manner over the past months, we call on the US to do everything possible to preserve the gains for nuclear non-proliferation brought about by the JCPoA [Iran deal], by allowing for a continued enforcement of its main elements,” the statement read.

The leaders also urged Iran to “show restraint in response to the decision by the US.”

Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani said: “The US has announced that it doesn’t respect its commitments.”

He said he believed the agreement could still survive if other negotiating partners defied Trump.

But Rouhani warned that he has instructed the country’s atomic energy agency to prepare to restart enrichment of uranium at an industrial level in a few weeks’ time should the deal collapse completely.

Iranian lawmakers set a paper US flag on fire at parliament on Wednesday morning, shouting, “Death to America! . Iran’s parliament speaker said that “Trump only understands the language of force”.

Russia said it was deeply disappointed by Trump’s decision to abandon the deal.

Washington’s actions were “flagrantly trampling on the norms of international law”, Russia’s foreign ministry said.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said he was “deeply concerned” over Trump’s decision, calling on all other nations to support the agreement and preserve the deal.

The top European Union diplomat, Federica Mogherini, called on the international community to stick to the Iran nuclear deal

The EU is “determined to preserve” the Iran nuclear deal despite the US withdrawal, Mogherini has said, pledging to “stay true” if Tehran stuck to its commitments.

The 2015 accord “is delivering on its goal which is guaranteeing that Iran doesn’t develop nuclear weapons, the European Union is determined to preserve it,” Mogherini said.

EU President Donald Tusk said the Iran deal would be on the agenda when the bloc’s leaders meet for a summit in Sofia next week.

“Policies of @realDonaldTrump on #IranDeal and trade will meet a united European approach. EU leaders will tackle both issues at the summit in Sofia next week,” Tusk wrote on Twitter.

Some other American allies, however, voiced their support for the decision, particularly Israel and Saudi Arabia.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised “courageous leadership” and “bold decision today to reject the disastrous nuclear deal with the terrorist regime in Tehran.”

Former US president Barack Obama in a rare statement called Trump’s decision a mistake.

“If the constraints on Iran’s nuclear programme under the JCPOA are lost, we could be hastening the day when we are faced with the choice between living with that threat, or going to war to prevent it,” he said.

By PTI Updated: May 09, 2018 10:19:02 pm