US Allies Uphold JCPOA, Reject Trump’s Threat

European powers encourage the US administration and Congress to consider the implications to the security of the US and its allies before taking any steps that might undermine the nuclear deal, such as reimposing sanctions on Iran
French, German and British leaders issued a joint statement on Friday in defense of the Iran nuclear deal.French, German and British leaders issued a joint statement on Friday in defense of the Iran nuclear deal.

Key US allies and other powers vowed to shore up the 2015 Iran nuclear deal against US President Donald Trump's decision to decertify it, a move that threatens to push the deal to the brink of unraveling.

Trump announced on Friday the US will stay in the pact reached under his predecessor Barack Obama, but he will not sign off on the certification to Congress that Iran is in compliance under the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015.

"Based on the factual record that I have put forward, I am announcing today that we cannot and will not make this certification," Trump said.

The ball is now in the Congress' court to decide in 60 days whether to reapply anti-Iran sanctions suspended under the accord in exchange for time-bound curbs on Tehran's nuclear program.

"I am directing my administration to work closely with Congress and our allies to address the deal's many serious flaws so that the Iranian [government] can never threaten the world with nuclear weapons," Trump said.

Trump offered no evidence to back up his claims and remains blind to the repeated confirmation of the civilian nature of Iran's nuclear program by the International Atomic Energy Agency.

The International Atomic Energy Agency, which has been tasked under the deal to monitor its implementation, has repeatedly verified that Iran has been in full compliance.

IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano reiterated that verification and that Iran was subject to "the world's most robust nuclear verification regime", BBC reported.

***US Allies Agree to Disagree

Britain, France and Germany, the three European countries that joined their main ally the United States and Russia and China to negotiate the deal, protested that it is "in our shared national security interest" and warned the Trump administration against reimposing sanctions and other measures that could undermine the international agreement.

"We encourage the US administration and Congress to consider the implications to the security of the US and its allies before taking any steps that might undermine the JCPOA, such as reimposing sanctions on Iran lifted under the agreement," French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and British Prime Minister Theresa May said in a joint statement.

They were referring to the accord by its official title, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.

Trump, who said his administration "cannot and will not" certify Tehran's JCPOA commitments as he laid out the new US strategy on Iran, hopes Congress will take additional legislative actions to strengthen INARA and address Iran's ballistic missile capabilities.

The Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015 was passed by the US Congress in May 2015.

***No Revision Allowed, Period

Trump's blustery rhetoric drew a strong backlash from President Hassan Rouhani, who reasserted the Islamic Republic's position that the deal would never be revised.

"[Trump] says 'I want to amend the JCPOA in cooperation with Congress.' He should know that not a single article, nor a clause or note, can be added to JCPOA," Rouhani said in a live, televised address to the nation after Trump's speech.

The president said the Islamic Republic would stand by its role in the campaign against regional terrorism, no matter what.

"We say explicitly that we have and will continue to stand against terrorism in the region," he was quoted as saying by his official website.

Trump expects other signatories of JCPOA to take further steps to address other aspects of Iranian activities that have nothing to do with the nuclear deal.

The Republican hawk warned that if Congress and allied nations cannot reach an agreement, the Iran deal "will be terminated.

The three European leaders, who agreed prior to Trump's announcement to have a common position, said in the statement they share the US concerns over Iran's ballistic missile program and regional activities, and were ready to work with Washington to address those concerns.

"We stand ready to take further appropriate measures to address these issues in close cooperation with the US and all relevant partners," they said, Reuters reported.

"We look to Iran to engage in constructive dialogue to stop [the alleged] destabilizing actions and work toward negotiated solutions," the joint statement said.

UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson sounded optimistic that JCPOA could hold despite Trump's hawkish stance.

"This deal lives to fight another day and that's a good thing," he said.

A top EU diplomat, who was charged with coordinating negotiations leading to the deal, said the US cannot unilaterally cancel the widely-supported deal.

"We cannot afford as the international community to dismantle a nuclear agreement that is working," said EU foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, who chaired the final stages of the landmark talks.

"This deal is not a bilateral agreement ... The international community, and the European Union with it, has clearly indicated that the deal is, and will, continue to be in place," she told reporters.

Russia said there was no place in international diplomacy for aggressive rhetoric and such methods were doomed to fail, reacting to Trump's speech.

Trump's announcement "once again underlines the inadmissibility of using aggressive and threatening rhetoric in international relations", Russia's Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

"It is a hangover from the past, which does not correspond to modern norms of civilized dealings between countries," the statement said.

It said it regretted Trump's decision not to recertify the JCPOA but did not expect it to stop the deal being implemented.

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