On May 8, U.S. President Donald Trump announced that Washington decided to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal as it allegedly provides Iran with the possibilities of creating a nuclear bomb bypassing all restrictions currently in force under the agreement.
UK Prime Minister Theresa May, French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel issued a joint statement in the wake of the US president’s announcement calling on all the other parties to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) to stay committed to their obligations under the agreement.
“We urge the U.S. to ensure that the structures of the JCPOA (deal) can remain intact and to avoid taking action which obstructs its full implementation by all other parties to the deal,” the leaders of Britain, Germany and France said in a joint statement provided by Prime Minister Theresa May’s office.
May spoke by telephone with Macron and Merkel after Trump made his statement and the United States said it intended to reimpose sanctions on Iran.
In the joint statement, the three leaders said that they took note of Trump’s decision “with regret and concern”.
“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,” they said.
Britain, in updated advice to exporters late on Tuesday, said it “continues to fully support expanding our trade relationship with Iran and encourages UK businesses to take advantage of the commercial opportunities that arise”.
But it warned British businesses and their staff to seek legal advice on how they might be affected by U.S. sanctions. The Confederation of British Industry said U.S. sanctions “could significantly impact UK businesses operating in Iran”.
The European joint statement also urged Iran “to show restraint” in response to the U.S. decision. “Iran must continue to meet its own obligations under the deal, cooperating fully and in a timely manner with IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) inspection requirements,” the three European leaders said. “There must be no doubt: Iran’s nuclear programs must always remain peaceful and civilian.”
Concerns about Iran’s ballistic missile programs and activities in Syria, Iraq and Yemen also needed to be addressed further, the leaders said.
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.
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,” Mogherini said. “The nuclear deal with Iran is the culmination of 12 years of diplomacy. It belongs to the entire international community.”
Addressing Iran, Mogherini urged its citizens and leaders to “not let anyone dismantle this agreement”.
Italy’s Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni said the Iran nuclear agreement must be preserved. “(The agreement) contributes to the security in the region and puts a brake on nuclear proliferation,” Gentiloni said in a tweet, adding that Italy would stand with its European allies.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that the US will be a losing party after withdrawing from the JCPOA. "You cannot pull out of agreements or change them at your own wish,” Erdogan said.
Iraqi President Fuad Masum expressed regret over the decision by Trump to pull the United States out of an international accord, but welcomed the decision of the other signatories of the agreement, including Iran and European nations, to stick with the 2015 deal despite the U.S. pullout.
“The (nuclear) agreement marked a major achievement in bolstering the chances of peace and progress for all the states of the region and the international community,” Masum said in a statement.
German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said Germany will try to keep the Iran nuclear deal alive despite President Donald Trump’s announcement that he was pulling the US out of the agreement, "which ensures the Middle East and the world as a whole are safer."
France’s foreign minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said that France wanted to stick to the nuclear accord. "Macron’s meeting would be followed by high-level talks between the Iranians and Britain and Germany, as well as France," Le Drian said.
“The deal is not dead. There’s an American withdrawal from the deal but the deal is still there,” he said. “The region deserves better than further destabilization provoked by American withdrawal. So we want to adhere to it and see to it that Iran does too, that Iran behaves with restraint.”
"President Trump wants to pull the plug on the Iran deal. That’s bad news for Dutch security and for European security as a whole," Dutch foreign minister Stef Blok said.
"Now we need to get to the negotiating table as soon as possible, with both the EU and the Americans, to chart a new course and work towards a solution. Next week I’ll be at the Security Council in New York, where Iran will of course be high on the agenda. The Iran agreement ensures that Iran will not develop nuclear weapons,’ he continued. ‘It contributes to stability in the region and to the security of the whole of Europe. It is still the best way of preventing Iran from gaining nuclear weapons, based on rigorous inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency. The agreement is not perfect, and we must continue to address concerns about Iran’s ballistic missile programme and its role in the region. But it was necessary, and the result of 12 years of negotiations. The US decision is a step backwards. The Netherlands will work with our partners to find a solution that safeguards our own security and that of the entire European Union," he concluded.
Japan's Foreign Minister Taro Kono said Japan would closely monitor the impact of a decision by U.S. President Donald Trump to withdraw from an international nuclear deal with Iran. Kono said Japan would continue close talks with related nations toward maintaining a deal, according to a statement released by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
China's said it regrets the decision by the United States to pull out of an international nuclear deal with Iran. China will safeguard the deal and it calls on all relevant parties to assume a responsible attitude, foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told a regular briefing in Beijing.
Former U.S. President Barack Obama said that Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal was “misguided.”
“I believe that the decision to put the JCPOA at risk without any Iranian violation of the deal is a serious mistake,” Obama said, adding that the Iran agreement significantly rolled back Tehran’s nuclear program and was a model for a possible deal Trump hopes to negotiate with North Korea to eliminate Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons. “That is why today’s announcement is so misguided,” Obama said.
“Walking away from the JCPOA turns our back on America’s closest allies, and an agreement that our country’s leading diplomats, scientists, and intelligence professionals negotiated,” he said.
Russia expressed deep concern over such a decision by the US President, acting Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said, commenting Russian President Vladimir Putin's meeting with permanent members of Russia’s Security Council to discuss the US withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal.
"From among substantive issues, the meeting discussed the situation around the JCPOA after the United States announced its decision to withdraw from the agreement on the Iranian nuclear dossier," Peskov said.
Russia’s foreign ministrysaid earlier it is “deeply disappointed” by Trump’s decision. “There are no - and can be no - grounds for breaking the JCPOA. The plan showed its full efficiency,” the ministry said. “The United States is undermining international trust in the International Atomic Energy Agency.”
The ministry added it was open to further cooperation with other Iran deal members and would continue to actively develop bilateral ties with Tehran.
Russia's acting Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that Russia remained committed to the Iran nuclear deal.
Meanwhile, one of Iran’s regional rivals, Israel, celebrated 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.”
Saudi Arabia, which considers Iran its main regional foe, also praised 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,” a Saudi Foreign Ministry statement says.