World leaders have pledged their commitment to the Iran nuclear deal after Donald Trump withdrew his support for the landmark agreement.
Theresa May, Emmanuel Macron and Angela Merkel released a joint statement affirming their support for the deal, while the European Union’s foreign policy chief said the agreement was working well and continues to prevent Iran from developing atomic weapons,
Federica Mogherini made the comments after Donald Trump announced he had chosen not to re-certify the agreement.
Ms Mogherini said no one country could terminate the deal, which was signed onto by Britain, France, Germany, Russia, China and the European Union. Instead, she called for a “collective process” to preserve the historic accord.
“We cannot afford as the international community to dismantle a nuclear agreement that is working,” Ms Mogherini told reporters.
She added: “This deal is not a bilateral agreement … The international community, and the European Union with it, has clearly indicated that the deal is, and will, continue to be in place.”
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani echoed these comments, saying no president could single-handedly revoke an international document backed by UN.
Mr Trump, however, told reporters he could end the deal “instantaneously,” but had decided not to do so because he preferred a two-step process.
The President announced on Friday that he “cannot and will not” certify Iran’s compliance with the agreement, and threatened to terminate it completely if Congress could not come up with a better deal.
The Obama-era deal lifted stringent, international sanctions on Iran in exchange for limitations on the country’s nuclear programme. Mr Trump, who initially wanted to withdraw from the deal, has instead given Congress 60 days to decide if it will reimpose sanctions.
Critics fear that imposing the sanctions – effectively killing the deal – could lead to a revitalisation of Iran’s nuclear programme. Asked last month about the possibility renegotiating the deal, Iranian foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif asked: “Are you prepared to return to us 10 tons of enriched uranium?”
Russia’s foreign minister joined Ms Mogherini in calling for all sides to stick to the original agreement, according to Russian state media. The foreign ministry claimed Iran has strictly complied with the deal, and urged against reimposing sanctions.
The leaders of Britain, France, and Germany announced in a joint statement that they “stand committed” to the Iran nuclear deal and are “concerned by the possible implications” of Mr Trump’s refusal to certify it, according to the Press Association.
Mr Rouhani slammed the US for countering nuclear weapons, while being the only country to have used them. He added that Mr Trump’s decision made the US more isolated than never.
Leaders in both Saudi Arabia and Israel, however, celebrated Mr Trump’s announcement.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu lauded the President’s “courageous decision,” saying it had created an “opportunity to fix this bad deal, to roll back Iran’s aggression and to confront its criminal support of terrorism”.
Back in the US, the House Speaker Paul Ryan applauded Mr Trump’s decision, marking a rare moment of agreement between the President and this party’s leadership.
“Simply enforcing a fatally flawed agreement is not sufficient,” Mr Ryan said. “I support President Trump’s decision to reevaluate this dangerous deal, and the House will work with his administration to counter Iran’s range of destabilizing activities.”