In a show of European unity against the US president, the leaders of France, Germany and the UK vowed Tuesday to uphold the Iran nuclear deal despite Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from it.
“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,” French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and British Prime Minister Theresa May said in a joint statement after discussing the move.
“Together, we emphasize our continuing commitment to the [deal]. This agreement remains important for our shared security,” they said.
Trump announced Tuesday the US was withdrawing from the Iran nuclear deal, following through on a campaign promise and defying European allies who implored him to maintain the agreement that international agencies have said Tehran is honoring.
The three European leaders called on Washington to “ensure that the structures of the [agreement] can remain intact, and to avoid taking action which obstructs its full implementation by all other parties to the deal.”
In a highly anticipated address from the White House’s Diplomatic Reception Room, Trump cast the landmark agreement forged under predecessor Barack Obama as “defective” and unable to rein in Iranian behavior or halt the Islamic Republic’s quest to develop a nuclear program.
“I’m announcing today that the United States will withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal,” he said while adding that his administration “will be instituting the highest level of economic sanction.”
Trump said the US would restore punitive sanctions on Tehran, after he concluded “that we cannot prevent an Iranian nuclear bomb under the decaying and rotten structure of the current agreement.”
Following the announcement, the White House released a brief statement saying that Trump had spoken with Macron on the phone about “peace and stability in the Middle East.”
Writing on Twitter before the joint statement with Merkel and May was released, Macron said the announcement meant that “the nuclear non-proliferation regime is at stake.”
“We will work collectively on a broader framework, covering nuclear activity, the post-2025 period, ballistic activity, and stability in the Middle-East, notably Syria, Yemen, and Iraq,” he said, reffering to other European countries.
European powers Britain, France, and Germany led a campaign to persuade Trump to stick with the deal negotiated by his predecessor Barack Obama, arguing that it was the most effective way of stopping Iran developing nuclear weapons.
In a Tuesday press conference, EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said the EU was “determined to preserve” the pact.
Mogherini, who was one of the architects of the deal, said it was “delivering on its goals which guarantees that Iran will never develop nuclear weapons.”
Agencies contributed to this report.