World leaders have urged US president Donald Trump not to take any rash action that would prevent them from working on the Iran nuclear deal after he announced the US is pulling out of the deal.
The statement from British prime minister Theresa May, German chancellor Angela Merkel, and French president Emmanuel Macron also urged Iran to “show restraint” and continue fulfilling its own obligations such as co-operating with inspections.
Iranian president Hassan Rouhani said he was sending his foreign minister to the countries remaining in the accord but warned there was only a short time to negotiate with them and his country could soon “start enriching uranium more than before”.
Mr Trump said the 2015 agreement, which included Germany, France, and Britain, was a “horrible one-sided deal that should never ever have been made”.
He added that the US “will be instituting the highest level of economic sanction”.
.@POTUS Trump to the long-suffering people of #Iran: The people of America stand with you. The future of Iran belongs to its people. They deserve a nation that does justice to their dreams. #JCPOA pic.twitter.com/MMeIpZEG8p— Department of State (@StateDept) May 8, 2018
Mr Trump’s decision means Iran’s government must now decide whether to follow the US and withdraw or try to salvage what remains of the deal.
The agreement had lifted most US and international sanctions against Iran.
In return, Iran agreed to restrictions on its nuclear programme, making it impossible to produce a bomb, along with rigorous inspections.
Hours before the announcement, European countries met to underline their support for the agreement.
Senior officials from Britain, France, and Germany met in Brussels with Iran’s deputy foreign minister for political affairs, Abbas Araghchi.
Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois, the number-two Democrat in the Senate, branded the US withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal “a mistake of historic proportions”.
He said that breaking the Iran deal increases the danger that Iran will restart its nuclear weapons programme, which threatens Israel and “destabilises the entire Middle East”.
Mr Durbin said Mr Trump’s action “isolates the United States from the world at a time when we need our allies to come together to address nuclear threats elsewhere, particularly in Korea”.
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