Signatories to Iran deal vow to stay in it, despite Trump pull out

Insisting that the Iranians are keeping their side of the nuclear accord, the Europeans, Russians and Chinese all say they’ll remain in it too.

By: Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

The UK, Russia, France, China and Germany all joined the US in signing the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) with Iran in 2015, and they all immediately backed away from President Donald Trump’s decision Tuesday to pull out of it. In making his announcement, Trump cited the agreement’s deep flaws, which in his view make it worse than having no nuclear deal at all.

The other signatories’ criticism of Trump’s announcement was unanimous, worded more or less strongly, depending on the country.

Noting that the European Union “regrets” the president’s statement, the EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini’s statement called the deal “crucial for the security of the region, of Europe and of the entire world.” She added that since the EU believes Iran is implementing its part of the accord, “The European Union is determined to preserve it.”

Averring that the agreement is “one of the biggest achievements diplomacy has ever delivered,” one that demonstrates that “win-win solutions are possible,” she asked Iran’s “citizens and leaders” not to let anyone dismantle it.

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French President Emmanuel Macron took the same tone in a tweet his office posted. “France, Germany, and the UK regret the US decision to leave the JCPOA [Iran deal],” echoing former US president Barack Obama by claiming that “the nuclear non-proliferation regime is at stake.”

However, he was much more proactive regarding the future than Mogherini, who only noted that the EU would “welcome” the US reconsidering its position.

“We will work collectively on a broader framework, covering nuclear activity, the post-2025 period, ballistic activity, and stability in the Middle-East, notably Syria, Yemen, and Iraq,” Macron added.

Russia’s foreign ministry meanwhile said Moscow was “deeply disappointed” by Trump’s words, but then went much further, adding that they were “trampling on the norms of international law.”

China’s reaction echoed the others, saying it “regrets the decision made by the United States,” insisting it would continue to uphold the deal.

The JCPOA lifted crippling sanctions on Iran in exchange for Tehran temporarily curtailing its nuclear research and development program and allowing UN weapons inspectors in, but only to civilian sites, not military ones. The agreement also required giving Iran the type of extensive advanced notice before inspections that many argued would give the regime adequate time to hide its illicit activity.

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Now President Trump has promised to reinstate those sanctions, which had forced other countries to either do business with America or Iran. Considering the billions of dollars’ worth of agreements already signed by many of the co-signatory governments with the Islamic Republic since 2015 – and those still on the table – this would be a significant economic blow to these countries, giving them another reason to try to preserve the deal.