European nations say they are staying in Iran deal

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European leaders on Tuesday lamented President Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal, but vowed to honor the accord moving forward.

French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and British Prime Minister Theresa May said in a joint statement that they’re concerned about Trump’s decision, but encouraged other parties to the agreement to honor the terms of the deal. 

“This resolution remains the binding international legal framework for the resolution of the dispute about the Iranian nuclear programme. We urge all sides to remain committed to its full implementation and to act in a spirit of responsibility,” the leaders said in a statement.

{mosads}“We urge the US to ensure that the structures of the JCPoA can remain intact, and to avoid taking action which obstructs its full implementation by all other parties to the deal,” they added.

The leaders said Iran must also continue to honor the agreement to maintain its sanctions relief.

Macron, May and Merkel were among the bevy of foreign leaders who in recent weeks attempted to convince Trump to remain in the agreement, which provided sanctions relief for Iran in exchange for Tehran curbing its nuclear program.

Without the U.S., the deal involves Iran, Germany, France, the United Kingdom, China, Russia and the European Union.

Macron, May and Merkel said they would reach out to the parties involved in the agreement “to seek a positive way forward.” That includes a framework for nuclear activity in the region once the existing deal expires, they said.

Foreign leaders argued Trump should remain in the deal, arguing that despite its flaws, there was no better option on the table.

But on Tuesday, Trump announced the U.S. would withdraw from the deal.

“The fact is, this was a horrible, one-sided deal that should have never ever been made. It didn’t bring calm, it didn’t bring peace and it never will,” Trump said during his announcement.

Responses from European officials began to pour in a short time later.

British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said he regrets the U.S. withdrawal, and would await further details on the Trump administration’s next steps.

Federica Mogherini, the European Union’s top envoy, said following Trump’s announcement that it falls to the rest of the international community to ensure the agreement continues to be implemented.

Donald Tusk, the president of the European Council, tweeted after Trump’s speech that EU leaders will discuss a unified approach to the Iran deal, as well as trade, at their meeting next week

Trump long railed against the agreement, calling it “terrible” and “the worst ever.” His past comments made Tuesday’s move largely unsurprising.

Trump acknowledged that Iran’s leaders will likely refuse to negotiate a new deal, while leaving the door open for future discussions.

“The fact is, they’re going to want to make a new and lasting deal. One that benefits all of Iran and the Iranian people,” Trump said. “When they do, I am ready, willing and able.”

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