Iran and the three European countries that helped negotiate the Iran nuclear deal will stay in it after US President Donald Trump on Tuesday withdrew the United States.
Germany, France and Britain said in a joint statement that they “will remain parties” to the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran.
Their reaction came after Iranian President Hassan Rowhani said that Iran will remain a part of the agreement despite the US withdrawal.
Trump called the agreement “defective at its core” as he announced his decision to withdraw from the deal and reinstate economic sanctions against Iran.
Trump has long opposed the deal and promised as a presidential candidate he would withdraw the US.
On Tuesday he called it “a horrible, one-sided deal that should have never, ever been made.” He said it meant that if nothing was done, Iran, which he called the world’s leading state-sponsor of terrorism, would “be on the cusp of acquiring the world’s most dangerous weapons.”
“It is clear to me that we cannot prevent a nuclear bomb under the decaying and rotten structure of the current deal,” Trump said.
In a televised address Rowhani said Iran now has an agreement with five countries instead of six.
“We will not allow Trump to win this psychological war,” he added.
The Iranian president said diplomats from Tehran will consult with the five negotiating partners in the coming weeks about moving forward with the deal.
The agreement – sealed by Trump’s predecessor, president Barack Obama, with the support of China, Russia, Germany, France and Britain – eased sanctions on Tehran in exchange for commitments to halt what Western powers feared was a nuclear weapons programme.
Trump’s decision to withdraw follows a diplomatic offensive by France, Germany and Britain in recent weeks that attempted to persuade him not to scuttle the deal.
French President Emmanuel Macron said all three European countries that helped to negotiate the Iran deal, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), regret Trump’s decision.
“France, Germany and the UK regret the US decision to leave the JCPOA. The nuclear non-proliferation regime is at stake,” Macron tweeted.
EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said the European Union is “determined to preserve” the deal. She said the EU was “fully committed” to its full implementation, noting that the lifting of sanctions benefits Iranian people.
“I’m particularly worried by the announcement tonight of new sanctions,” Mogherini said.
Trump said even as the US withdraws from the deal it would continue to work with its allies to find a “real, comprehensive and lasting solution to the Iranian nuclear threat.”
This will include efforts to eliminate the threat of Iran’s ballistic missile programme, to stop its terrorist activities worldwide and to block its “menacing” activity across the Middle East, he said.
“In the meantime, Trump said powerful sanctions will go into full effect,” adding that if the regime continues its nuclear aspirations, “it will have bigger problems than it has ever had before.”
Saudi Arabia welcomed Trump’s decision and called on the international community to adopt a firm and united stance towards Iran. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
also applauded it, saying “Israel fully supports Trump’s bold decision today.”