Press TV – Russian President Vladimir Putin and German Chancellor Angela Merkel have reaffirmed their commitment to preserving a 2015 landmark nuclear agreement despite the US move to pull out of it, the Kremlin says.
The Russian and German leaders held a telephone conversation on Friday, few days after US President Donald Trump defied protests and last-minute lobbying by his European partners and unilaterally decided to withdraw from the historic nuclear accord, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), and impose new sanctions on Tehran.
“I am announcing today that the United States will withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal,” Trump said Tuesday in a televised address from the White House. “This was a horrible one-sided deal that should have never, ever been made.”
Kremlin quoted a statement issued following the call as saying that Putin and Merkel discussed the situation around the nuclear deal “following the unilateral withdrawal of the US.”
“The importance of preserving the deal from a point of view of international and regional stability was highlighted,” read the statement.
During a Thursday press conference with his visiting German counterpart, Heiko Maas, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov denounced the pullout by the US of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal as a “significant” violation of a United Nations resolution that endorsed the international document back then.
“We are seriously concerned about the decision of the US administration to withdraw from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, thereby committing a significant violation of Security Council resolution 2231,” Lavrov said.
The German chancellor also said on Thursday that Europe can no longer rely on the United States for protection, urging European Union member states to take the bloc’s destiny in their own hands.
“It is no longer such that the United States simply protects us, but Europe must take its destiny in its own hands, that’s the task of the future,” the German leader said at an award ceremony in Aachen, a German resort city near the border with Belgium, where French President Emmanuel Macron received the prestigious Charlemagne Prize for his efforts in boosting EU integration and cohesion.
The Kremlin further noted that the Russian and German leaders also discussed the latest developments in Syria as well as Merkel’s planned working visit to Russia next week.
Iran and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council — the United States, Britain, France, China and Russia — plus Germany reached the JCPOA in July 2015 after long negotiations.
According to the JCPOA, reached under Trump’s predecessor Barack Obama, Iran undertook to put limits on its nuclear program in exchange for the removal of nuclear-related sanctions imposed against Tehran.
Putin plans to meet IAEA chief to discuss Iran: Kremlin aide
A Kremlin aide said on Friday that the Russian president plans to meet Yukiya Amano, head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), in Russia’s Black Sea city of Sochi on Monday to discuss the US exit from the Iran nuclear deal.
Yuri Ushakov added that Russia was working closely with Iran to prevent it from making any decision to quit the JCPOA and noted that Moscow sees the deal as vital for global stability.
“We really hope this won’t happen. Honestly, we are working with Iran in favor of it not leaving,” the Kremlin aide said.
EU determined to preserve Iran nuclear deal: Mogherini
European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said the 28-nation bloc is determined to make sure the Iran nuclear agreement is respected despite the US president’s decision to abandon it.
“Our determination is to keep this agreement in place. Obviously we need the only country that can unilaterally destroy this agreement to stay committed, which is Iran,” Mogherini said while addressing the State of the Union conference organized by the European University Institute in Florence, Italy.
She emphasized that she has been reassured about Iran’s intentions by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s remarks.
She criticized Trump’s decision and said the US cannot undo the agreement by pulling out.
“This deal is not a bilateral treaty. It’s a UN Security Council Resolution and it belongs to the entire world,” the senior EU official added.
Mogherini is scheduled to chair talks between Iran’s foreign minister and his British, French and German counterparts in Brussels on Tuesday to discuss the US withdrawal from the JCPOA.
Mogherini will host the talks between the so-called E3 powers and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, her office said in a statement on Friday.
Erdogan, Putin say US ‘wrong’ to abandon JCPOA
In a telephone conversation on Thursday evening, the Russian president and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan also agreed that it was “wrong” for the United States to abandon the Iran nuclear deal.
Erdogan and Putin described Trump’s decision as “wrong” and emphasized that the nuclear agreement “was a diplomatic success which actually should be protected”, a Turkish presidential source said.
In a statement, the Kremlin also said that the two strongmen “emphasized that the safeguarding of the JCPOA is very important for international and regional security as well as the nuclear non-proliferation regime.”
It added that the two leaders “confirmed their determination” to continue to cooperate with the other signatories to the agreement.
Turkey: US withdrawal from JCPOA ‘opportunity’ for Ankara
Turkish Economy Minister Nihat Zeybekci said on Friday that the United States’ pullout from the JCPOA was an “opportunity” for Ankara, stressing that there would be no-let up in trade with Iran.
“I see it like this, this is an opportunity for Turkey. I will continue to trade with Iran,” Zeybekci told state news agency Anadolu.
However, he added that in case of possible UN decisions vis-a-vis Iran’s nuclear activities and other issues, “of course” Turkey’s trade would continue “complying with them.”
He slammed Trump’s unilateral decision and said, “I don’t see anything big to worry about at this stage.”
The Turkish minister emphasized that other countries, including EU members, were not of the same opinion as the US president.
In a phone conversation with his Turkish counterpart on Thursday, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani blasted Washington for breaking yet another promise to the world community by leaving the 2015 multinational nuclear deal with Iran, calling for efforts to confront the US “unilateralism.”
Rouhani said, “The Americans should know that they cannot just pull out of their international agreements comfortably and without paying any price.”
Europe cannot submit to US decisions: France
French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said on Friday that European states have come to realize that they cannot submit to American decisions.
Speaking at a news conference with his Dutch counterpart Wopke Hoekstra in Paris, Le Maire added that Paris and its European allies are drawing up plans to submit proposals to the European Commission aimed at strengthening Europe’s capacity to defend its economic interests.
“There is a realization among all European states what we cannot keep going in the direction we are headed today whereby we submit to American decisions,” the French minister said in response to a question about Europe’s response to US sanctions on Iran.
He said Europe needed to toughen rules dating back to 1996, adding: “France, together with other European partners, hopes to present proposals to the European Commission which go in this sense.”
The US Treasury Department said in a statement on its website Thursday that it imposed fresh sanctions on several Iranian individuals and entities in the wake of President Trump’s decision to withdraw Washington from the nuclear deal.
The statement added that the US Treasury Department had sanctioned six people allegedly tied to the Quds Force of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) and three Iranian entities.