European leaders have expressed regret at US President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw the country from the Iran nuclear deal.
Germany’s Angela Merkel, France’s Emmanuel Macron and the UK’s Theresa May issued a joint statement following Trump’s announcement yesterday that the US would withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal – officially known at the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action – and re-impose sanctions on the country.
It is unclear at this point what the future of the deal might entail, but European leaders have already indicated a willingness to continue to pursue the deal without US involvement. European Commission High Representative for Foreign Affairs Federica Mogherini said yesterday that the US did not have the power to scrap the agreement altogether, and that the EU would continue to pursue it.
In their joint statement, Macron, May and Merkel restated their commitment to the Iran nuclear deal and emphasised its importance for international security. Iran, meanwhile, has condemned Trump for lying during his speech withdrawing from the deal, and said that it will await Europe’s response to determine the future of the agreement.
What are Europe’s next steps?
The primary goal of the Iran nuclear deal is to ensure that the country’s nuclear programme remains ‘peaceful and civilian’, and includes measures to ensure Iran does not enrich uranium on a level sufficient to develop nuclear weapons.
In the joint statement, the leaders of France, Germany and the UK urged Iran to continue to meet its obligations to the deal, including co-operating fully and in a timely manner with the International Atomic Energy Agency’s inspection requirements. In return, these countries will continue to withhold sanctions that were previously imposed on the country.
However, they also acknowledged that there remain to be addressed some areas of concern in the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, which were part of the Trump’s reasoning for pulling out of the deal.
The statement reads: “A long-term framework for Iran’s nuclear programme… will need to be addressed [after 2025]. Because our commitment to the security of our allies and partners in the region is unwavering, we must also address in a meaningful way shared concerns about Iran’s ballistic missile programme and its destabilising regional activities, especially in Syria, Iraq and Yemen.”