The world has reacted to President Trump’s decision to pull the United States out of the nuclear deal with Iran. The leaders of France, the U.K. and Germany issued a joint statement expressing concern over the U.S.’ decision.
“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,” the statement read.
“After engaging with the US Administration in a thorough manner over the past months, we call on the US to do everything possible to preserve the gains for nuclear non-proliferation brought about by the JCPoA, by allowing for a continued enforcement of its main elements.”
The statement also made clear the leaders’ intention to remain parties to the deal.
“According to the IAEA, Iran continues to abide by the restrictions set out by the JCPoA, in line with its obligations under the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. The world is a safer place as a result. Therefore we, the E3, will remain parties to the JCPoA.”
The statement acknowledged some of the current deal’s shortcomings. President Trump wants the deal expanded to include Iran’s non-nuclear, ballistic missile program. He also wants Iran’s human-rights abuses, as well as their alleged state sponsoring of terror in places like Syria, Yemen and Lebanon addressed.
The three leaders called for more dialogue to address those issues. “We have already started constructive and mutually beneficial discussions on these issues, and the E3 is committed to continuing them with key partners and concerned states across the region.”
The U.S. signed the Iran nuclear deal, along with the U.K., France, Germany, Russia and China. A group of countries known in international diplomacy shorthand as the P5+1, for their permanent places on the United Nations Security Council, plus Germany.
The deal called on Iran to halt its nuclear program in exchange for crippling economic sanctions against the country being lifted. There is broad consensus among international watchdogs that Iran has largely honored the terms of the deal.
That, along with heavy lobbying from the E3 countries were not enough in the end though to persuade President Trump to remain in the deal.
Both Russia and China have also indicated they intend to remain in the deal. Russia says it will try to keep the deal operational despite the U.S.’ withdrawal. China joined Europe in its response, expressing support for the deal as presently constituted.
“Having a deal is better than no deal. Dialogue is better than confrontation,” China’s special envoy to the Middle East, Gong Xiaosheng, said in a press conference in Iran.
It is unclear though whether the remaining signatories can simply ignore the U.S.’ decision and how effective U.S. sanctions will be against Iran if they are not supplemented by sanctions from the rest of the world remains to be seen. President Trump has vowed to not just sanction Iran, but sanction any entity – government or corporation – that does business with Iran as well.
“We will be instituting the highest level of economic sanction. Any nation that helps Iran in its quest for nuclear weapons could also be strongly sanctioned by the United States,” the President said during his announcement.
The administration has not indicated when or whether negotiations over a new deal will start. In a background briefing given to reporters after the President’s announcement, State Department officials said that the official wind-down period for economic relations with Iran will last up to six months.
Photo by U.S. Department of State