The British, French and German governments have urged Donald Trump to “consider the implications” to international security after he announced that he will not certify the Iran nuclear agreement.
The major reversal of US policy saw Trump call Iran a “fanatical regime” as he detailed a more confrontational approach to the Middle Eastern country over its nuclear and ballistic missile programs and its support for extremist groups.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said that Tehran was committed to the deal and accused Trump of making baseless accusations.
Following Trump’s announcement Theresa May, Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron released a joint statement saying they “stand committed” to the Iran nuclear deal.
The European leaders said that they are “concerned by the possible implications” of the US president’s refusal to back the deal.
Trump said on Friday: “Today I am announcing our strategy along with several major steps we’re taking to confront the Iranian regime’s hostile actions and to ensure that Iran never ― and I mean never ― acquires a nuclear weapon,”
Trump said that Iran’s “dangerous aggression” had escalated since the signing of the agreement in 2015.
While Trump did not pull the United States out of the agreement, aimed at preventing Iran from developing a nuclear bomb, he gave the US Congress 60 days to decide whether to reimpose economic sanctions on Tehran that were lifted under the pact.
That would increase tension with Iran as well as put Washington at odds with other signatories of the accord such as Britain, France, Germany, Russia, China and the European Union.
If Congress reimposes the sanctions, the US would in effect be in violation of the terms of the nuclear deal and it would likely fall apart. If lawmakers do nothing, the deal remains in place.
Trump warned that if “we are not able to reach a solution working with Congress and our allies, then the agreement will be terminated.”
He directed US intelligence agencies to probe whether Iran might be working with North Korea on its weapons programs.
Trump has reluctantly certified the agreement twice before but has repeatedly blasted it as “the worst deal ever.” It was negotiated under his predecessor, Barack Obama.
European leaders May, Merkel and Macron released the following statement in response to Trump’s announcement:
“We, the Leaders of France, Germany and the United Kingdom take note of President Trump’s decision not to recertify Iran’s compliance with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action to Congress and are concerned by the possible implications.
“We stand committed to the JCPoA and its full implementation by all sides. Preserving the JCPoA is in our shared national security interest. The nuclear deal was the culmination of 13 years of diplomacy and was a major step towards ensuring that Iran’s nuclear programme is not diverted for military purposes.
“The JCPoA was unanimously endorsed by the UN Security Council in Resolution 2231. The International Atomic Energy Agency has repeatedly confirmed Iran’s compliance with the JCPoA through its long-term verification and monitoring programme.
“Therefore, we encourage the US Administration and Congress to consider the implications to the security of the US and its allies before taking any steps that might undermine the JCPoA, such as re-imposing sanctions on Iran lifted under the agreement.”
Foreign secretary Boris Johnson said that the deal was a “tribute to UK diplomacy” and that Britain will be working with the US, Iran and other European countries to preserve the deal.
Speaking on Channel 4 News before the announcement, Hillary Clinton called Trump’s choice a “very major mistake”.
She added: “There is no evidence that on the nuclear programme Iran has cheated in the agreement that the UK and other powers, along with the United States, entered into with Iran.
“So basically for political reasons or for personal reasons - it’s unclear which - he is basically throwing open the door to Iran’s nuclear programme one more time. I think that is very dangerous.
When asked if he was endangering world peace, she replied: “Well, he certainly is behaving in an impulsive way that confuses people, which I think is not good for the stability of the world.
“There could be accidental interpretations of his tweets and his bellicose statements that I think might prove to be quite dangerous, so yes.
“And when you think about it, why, if you’re having a serious threat from the development of nuclear weapons in North Korea, and the potential capacity for them to have missiles that could carry a nuclear weapon to Japan, even to the United States, why would you also pick a fight with Iran?
“So, the choices he’s making are ones that I think are destabilising and dangerous.”