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Germany committed to Iran deal, even if US exits

May 7, 2018

As US President Donald Trump prepares to announce his decision on the Iran nuclear deal, Germany and its European co-signatories are sticking to the agreement.

Maas and Le Drian at a joint press conference
Image: imago/Jens Schicke

The German government reaffirmed its support for the Iran deal on Monday. The deal "makes the world safer," German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said after meeting with French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian.

"We don't think there is any justifiable reason to pull out of this agreement and we continue to make the case for it to our American friends," Maas said.

The Iran nuclear agreement of 2015, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), has been imperiled by a possible United States exit, after President Donald Trump demanded that signatories fix "the terrible flaws" in the accord before May 12, when the sanctions exemptions are due to expire. 

Read more: What are Donald Trump's objections to the Iran nuclear deal?

Trump has labeled the Iran agreement as "the worst deal ever" and shares the concern of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that Iran won't uphold its side of the bargain. Yet, neither Netanyahu nor Trump has proposed an alternative agreement in the event that the current deal is scrapped.

Trump tweeted on his official Twitter account on Monday that he will announce a decision on the deal on Tuesday.

Read more: What is the Iran nuclear deal?

European nations maintain their support

Le Drian said France, Britain and Germany would keep the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran even if the US opts out because they see the deal as the best option to avoid nuclear proliferation.

"We are determined to save this deal because this accord safeguards against nuclear proliferation and is the right way to stop Iran getting a nuclear weapon," Le Drian said.

Heiko Maas echoed the sentiment, saying that Germany would "deal with the US decision" but that the goal is to adhere to the accord.

Currently, the agreement is backed by all signatories – Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China – except for the US. Arms control experts are also proponents and believe that it provides the strictest international oversight ever crafted over Iran.

Iran would stay in deal without US

The Iranian government responded positively on Monday to a possible survival of the deal with European countries and a US absence.

"If we can get what we want from a deal without America, then Iran will continue to remain committed to the deal. What Iran wants is in our interests to be guaranteed by its non-American signatories ... In that case, getting rid of America's mischievous presence will be fine for Iran," President Hassan Rouhani said on state television.

The Iranian president raised the stakes, saying that his country had been preparing for every possible scenario, including a deal without Washington.

On Sunday, Rouhani reaffirmed that his government and people were unified in support of the deal and warned the US that outside the agreement, Iran would "build as many missiles and weapons needed" for their own defense.

Iranian president Hassan Rouhani warns US against pulling out of nuclear deal.

dv, jcg/se (dpa, Reuters, AP)

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