Western allies stepped up pressure on US President Donald Trump to keep alive the international nuclear deal with Iran, saying it is extremely important to uphold the 2015 agreement.
French President Emmanuel Macron, who arrived in Washington on Monday for a state visit, said there was no “Plan B” for keeping a lid on Iran’s nuclear ambitions, Reuters reports.
The visiting leader is expected to urge Trump in person not to tear up the Iran nuclear pact.
Trump has said that unless European allies fix what he has called its “terrible flaws” by May 12, he will restore US economic sanctions on Iran, which would be a severe blow to the pact.
The 2015 agreement between Iran, the US, China, Russia, Britain, France and Germany was born of longstanding concern among major powers that Iran was seeking to develop an atomic weapon.
Under the pact, Iran agreed to curbs on its nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief. Critics of the pact, including Trump, have said it does not adequately contain Iran.
German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said both Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who is due to meet Trump in Washington on Friday, will urge the US president to stay in the deal, which is formally called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
“We believe it is extremely important to uphold this agreement. Were it to fail or the US to drop out, we would not have anything comparable to it and we fear that the situation would significantly deteriorate with everything that goes with it,” Maas told reporters.
He was speaking at a meeting in Toronto of foreign ministers from the Group of Seven leading industrialized nations.
Britain’s foreign minister, Boris Johnson, echoed this, telling reporters in Toronto, “There is a strong view around the (G7) table that we need to make the case for the JCPOA.”
Iran has said it will stick to the accord as long as the other parties respect it, but will “shred” it if Washington pulls out.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif called on European leaders on Monday to support it.
“It is either all or nothing. European leaders should encourage Trump not just to stay in the nuclear deal, but more important to begin implementing his part of the bargain in good faith,” Zarif wrote on Twitter.
On a visit to Beijing, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said he had agreed with his Chinese counterpart to block any US attempt to sabotage the deal.
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