Europe and Russia on Friday defended the 2015 nuclear agreement with Tehran and said they would stick by it, after US President Donald Trump threatened to terminate the agreement.
Trump said in a Washington speech that he would not certify that Iran is complying with its agreement with six world powers and the European Union, despite a determination by the UN’s nuclear watchdog that Tehran is meeting the deal’s terms.
The Republican president threw the issue to the US Congress, which has 60 days to decide whether to reinstate US sanctions. He warned that if “we are not able to reach a solution working with Congress and our allies, then the agreement will be terminated.”
Trump’s actions appeared to leave the United States relatively isolated on the world stage. His hawkish new stance toward Iran, including steps against the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, received strong backing only from Israel and Gulf states such as Saudi Arabia.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said Iran will remain committed to the multinational deal as long as it serves the country’s national interests.
Trump’s decision to decertify the deal will isolate the United States, as other signatories of the accord remained committed to it, Rouhani said in a live television address. The deal was not renegotiable, he said.
The agreement, negotiated by Trump’s Democratic predecessor Barack Obama, eased sanctions on Tehran in returns for strict limits on its nuclear program.
Trump’s stance put him at odds with key US allies, including Britain, France and Germany who, along with Russia and China, negotiated the deal with Iran alongside the European Union.
In Brussels, EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said Washington could not unilaterally cancel the agreement.
“We cannot afford as the international community to dismantle a nuclear agreement that is working,” said Mogherini, who chaired the final stages of the landmark talks. Mogherini told reporters in Brussels:
The leaders of Britain, France and Germany issued a joint statement warning the United States against taking decisions that could harm the nuclear deal such as re-imposing sanctions.
The three leaders also said they shared US concerns over Iran’s ballistic missile program and regional destabilising activities and were ready to work with Washington to address those concerns.