UK, France and Germany pledge to remain in Iran nuclear deal as US withdraws
Britain, France, and Germany have pledged to remain in the Iranian nuclear deal despite Donald Trump pulling America out of the agreement.
In a joint statement, the countries expressed “regret and concern” over the decision and urged Iran to “show restraint” in its response.
Hassan Rouhani, the president of Iran, said that the country would remain in the deal as discussions with allies take place over the next “few weeks”.
However, he said if talks fail with other partners to the deal then Iran was prepared to restart its uranium enrichment programme.
Middle Eastern allies of America welcomed Mr Trump’s decision, with leaders in Israel and Saudi Arabia issuing messages of support.
But Federica Mogherini, the EU foreign affairs chief, said that no one would be allowed to “dismantle” the agreement and urged the Iranian people to stay committed.
Here is how the world reacted to Mr Trump’s decision to withdraw America from the deal and reimpose economic sanctions on Iran.
UK, France and Germany
In a joint statement, Prime Minister Theresa May, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron insisted they will stay in the nuclear agreement.
It read: “It is with regret and concern that we, the Leaders of France, Germany and the United Kingdom take note of President Trump’s decision to withdraw the United States of America from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action [JCPOA].”
The statement went on: “Our governments remain committed to ensuring the agreement is upheld and will work with all the remaining parties to the deal to ensure this remains the case including through ensuring the continuing economic benefits to the Iranian people that are linked to the agreement.”
The leaders said the world “is a safer place” as a result of the deal as they warned the US against imposing sanctions on European companies.
“We urge the US to ensure that the structures of the JCPOA can remain intact, and to avoid taking action which obstructs its full implementation by all other parties to the deal.”
The European allies also urged Iran to “show restraint” in response to Mr Trump’s decision.
Hassan Rouhani, the Iranian president, said Iran would stay in the nuclear deal for now but was prepared to return to enriching uranium if its interests were not preserved.
“We will wait for a few weeks and we will also speak with our allies and friends and those who have signed this deal and who remain loyal to this deal,” Mr Rouhani said.
“If our interests are met within the JCPOA, we will continue on this path. And if JCPOA turns into a piece of paper without granting our nations’ interests then there will be a clear path ahead of us.”
He denounced Mr Trump’s speech as “psychological warfare” against Iran but said his country would not bow to pressure.
“Our people have always been victorious in the face of conspiracies and we will also emerge victorious at this juncture.”
Mr Rouhani added in a warning: “I have ordered Iran’s atomic organization that whenever it is needed, we will start enriching uranium more than before.”
The Middle East
Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister and a leading critic of the Iran deal, said Mr Trump had made a “brave and correct decision” to withdraw from the agreement.
“Israel fully supports President Trump’s bold decision today to reject the disastrous nuclear deal,” Mr Netanyahu said in a speech moments after Mr Trump’s address.
The Israeli leader has consistently warned that the deal would pave the way for Iran to build an arsenal of nuclear weapons and called the agreement a “recipe for disaster”.
Shortly before Mr Trump’s speech, Israel’s military said it had detected “irregular activity of Iranian forces in Syria” and ordered Israelis on the Golan Heights to ready their bomb shelters.
Israeli officials have been saying for several weeks that they expected Iran to retaliate for a suspected Israeli strike against the T4 airbase in Syria, which killed seven Iranians.
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia said it “fully supports ” the US measures, expressing concerns over the deal’s sunset clauses, Iran’s ballistic missiles program, and its “support for terrorism in the region”.
The European Union
Federica Mogherini, the EU foreign affairs chief, told the Iranian people to stay true to their commitments despite Mr Trump’s decision to pull out of the deal as she promised the European Union would stay committed to the agreement.
“Do not let anyone dismantle this agreement. It is one of the biggest achievements diplomacies has ever delivered and we built this together,” she said shortly after Mr Trump’s announcement.
“Stay true to your commitments as we will stay true to ours. Together with the rest of international community, we will preserve this nuclear deal.”
In a possible warning to Mr Trump, who threatened sanctions on any countries helping Iran, she added: “The European Union is determined to act in accordance with it security interests and to protect its economic investments.”
EU leaders are meeting on May 17 in Sofia. Mr Trump’s decision on Iran deal has now been added to the agenda for discussions.