International desk, October 14: World leaders were quick to react to US President Donald Trump’s decision to “decertify” an international deal on Iran’s nuclear programme.
The 2015 deal, reached between Iran and the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Russia and the European Union (EU), saw Tehran curtailing its nuclear programme in exchange for the easing of crippling economic sanctions.
In a White House address on Friday, Trump struck a blow against the accord in defiance of other world powers, and despite the UN nuclear watchdog’s repeated confirmations that Iran was complying with its obligations under 2015’s Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
Trump’s move does not amount to a withdrawal from the deal, but instead pushes action to US Congress, which could reimpose sanctions that were lifted under the pact.
He threatened, however, that if a deal could not be reached with Congress or US allies, he would walk away from the accord.
Trump’s speech put him at odds with US allies in Europe, as well as Iran and Russia, with leaders saying they would stick by the landmark pact.
“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,” French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and British Prime Minister Theresa May said in a joint statement.
In Brussels, Federica Mogherini, the EU foreign policy chief, said the Iran deal is an international agreement and “it is not up to any single country to terminate it”.
In a statement after Trump’s speech, Russia’s foreign ministry said there was no place in international diplomacy for “threatening” and “aggressive” rhetoric, adding that such methods were doomed to fail.
“It is a hangover from the past, which does not correspond to modern norms of civilised dealings between countries,” the statement said.
“We viewed with regret the decision of the U.S. President not to confirm to Congress that Iran is fulfilling in good faith” the nuclear deal, it added.
The ministry said Trump’s decision to de-certify the deal would not have a direct impact on implementation of the agreement but that it ran counter to its spirit.
“What was heard today was nothing but the repetition of baseless accusations and swear words that they have repeated for years,” Rouhani said in a televised address from Tehran.
“The Iranian nation does not expect anything else from you,” he added.
Rouhani said that despite the US president’s aggressive rhetoric, Tehran remained committed to the nuclear agreement for the time being.
“We respect the JCPOA … so long as it remains in keeping with our national rights and interests,” he said.