UK, France and Germany issue joint statement attacking Trump's withdrawal from Iran nuclear deal

EU’s top diplomat urges rest of the world, including Iran, to stay unified in support of pact

UN High Representative Federica Mogherini: UN is 'particularly worried' about US withdrawal from Iran nuclear deal

The UK, France and Germany have issued a joint statement assailing President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw the US from the nuclear deal with Iran.

Moments after Mr Trump said he would abandon the pact, resisting overtures from European nations which had urged him to preserve the agreement, Prime Minister Theresa May, Chancellor Angela Merkel and President Emmanuel Macron said the decision to pull out of the Iran nuclear deal was a matter of “regret and concern”. However, they said they remained committed to the accord.

They said: “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].

“Together, we emphasise our continuing commitment to the JCPOA. This agreement remains important for our shared security.

“We recall that the JCPOA was unanimously endorsed by the UN Security Council in resolution 2231. This resolution remains the binding international legal framework for the resolution of the dispute about the Iranian nuclear programme.

“We urge all sides to remain committed to its full implementation and to act in a spirit of responsibility.”

With the US reimposing sanctions on Iran, Mr Macron said in a separate tweet of his own that “the nuclear non-proliferation regime is at stake”.

Mr Macron had used a recent White House visit to try to persuade Mr Trump to abide by the agreement. But he acknowledged at the time that the president was unlikely to change his view of the agreement.

Noting that withdrawing from the deal was “a campaign pledge he made long ago”, Mr Macron told reporters last week that Mr Trump had “no serious desire to maintain or defend” the deal. He separately noted that the president was poised to withdraw “for his own domestic reasons”.

“Rational analysis does not lead me to think he will stay in the deal,” Mr Macron told reporters.

Other European leaders sought to project a unified front in favour of preserving the pact. European Council president Donald Tusk said Mr Trump’s policies on Iran and trade “will meet a united European approach”. Russia also said it would seek to keep the deal functioning.

Donald Trump withdraws from nuclear deal with Iran

Federica Mogherini, the European Union’s top diplomat, said she believed the deal was successfully deterring Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons and predicted that the rest of the international community would stand by the pact.

“The European Union is determined to act in accordance with its security interests and to protect its economic investments,” Ms Mogherini said. “The nuclear deal with Iran is the culmination of 12 years of diplomacy. It belongs to the entire international community.”

Addressing Iran, Ms Mogherini urged its citizens and leaders to “not let anyone dismantle this agreement”.

European leaders are concerned that Washington could use its influence over the world’s financial system to prevent businesses in other countries that have not reimposed sanctions on Iran from doing business there. That view was not helped by Mr Trump’s new ambassador to Germany, who presented his credentials in Berlin earlier on Tuesday, tweeting that German businesses should halt their activities in Iran immediately.

“US sanctions will target critical sectors of Iran’s economy,” Richard Grenell said. “German companies doing business in Iran should wind down operations immediately.”

Meanwhile, one of Iran’s regional rivals, Israel, celebrated Mr Trump’s decision. Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, speaking moments after Mr Trump had finished his address in Washington, said the current Iran deal was “a recipe for disaster, a disaster for our region, a disaster for the peace of the world”.

He added: “Israel has opposed the nuclear deal from the start because we said that rather than blocking Iran’s path to a bomb, the deal actually paves Iran’s path to an entire arsenal of nuclear bombs – and this within a few years’ time.

“The removal of sanctions under the current deal has already produced disastrous results. The deal didn’t push war further away. It actually brought it closer. The deal didn’t reduce Iran’s aggression. It dramatically increased it.”

Last week, Mr Netanyahu delivered a presentation in front of the media to unveil what he described as a “half tonne” of Iranian nuclear documents he said had been seized by Israeli intelligence forces.

Though he stopped short of accusing Iran of violating the terms of the 2015 nuclear deal, Mr Netanyahu said the documents proved Iran had previously tried to develop a nuclear bomb before 2003, that the country had lied in the past and therefore could not be trusted. Mr Trump mentioned that intelligence in his address.

Saudi Arabia, which considers Iran its main regional foe, also praised Mr Trump’s decision. “Iran used economic gains from the lifting of sanctions to continue its activities to destablise the region, particularly by developing ballistic missiles and supporting terrorist groups in the region,” said a Saudi Foreign Ministry statement.

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