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May 9, 2018updated 10 May 2018 8:33am

Global leaders react to US withdrawal from Iran nuclear deal

By Shoshana Kedem

Leaders around the world have responded with a mixture of delight and dismay to the decision by US President Donald Trump to abandon the Iran nuclear deal.

The remaining signatories of the so-called Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) — China, France, Russia, UK, and Germany — slammed Trump’s decision and pledged to keep the deal alive by negotiating a new pact without the US in coming weeks.

The 2015 pact, brokered by Trump’s predecessor Barack Obama saw the lifting of sanctions on Iran in return for Tehran’s promise to curb their nuclear enrichment program.

Here’s how countries around the world reacted.


China has decried the break-down of the deal in a statement last night, warning that Trump’s decision raises the risk of conflict in the region.

China will safeguard the deal and it calls on all the parties involved to respond responsibly, foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told a regular briefing in Beijing.

The spokesman said:

The Chinese side regrets the US decision to withdraw from the comprehensive agreement on Iran’s nuclear issue… China will adopt an unbiased and responsible approach, will maintain a dialogue with all parties, continue to preserve and implement the comprehensive agreement on Iran’s nuclear program.

European Union

European Union leaders scurried to keep the deal alive, saying they would work with other signatories of the pact to continue the deal without the US.

In a joint statement the UK, France and Germany expressed their “regret and concern” and urged the US not to scuttle efforts for the implementation of the new plan.

A new deal would take “the JCPOA as a base”, while expanding the current framework to address “other major issues of concern,” the statement said.

They said:

We encourage Iran to show restraint in response to the decision by the US; Iran must continue to meet its own obligations under the deal, cooperating fully and in a timely manner with IAEA inspection requirements.

There must be no doubt: Iran’s nuclear program must always remain peaceful and civilian. While taking the JCPOA as a base, we also agree that other major issues of concern need to be addressed. A long-term framework for Iran’s nuclear programme after some of the provisions of the JCPOA expire, after 2025, will have to be defined.

Because our commitment to the security of our allies and partners in the region is unwavering, we must also address in a meaningful way shared concerns about Iran’s ballistic missile programme and its destabilising regional activities, especially in Syria, Iraq and Yemen.

We have already started constructive and mutually beneficial discussions on these issues, and the E3 is committed to continuing them with key partners and concerned states across the region.

We and our Foreign Ministers will reach out to all parties to the JCPoA to seek a positive way forward.

French President Emmanuel Macron said via Twitter:

France, Germany, and the UK regret the US decision to leave the JCPOA [Iran deal]. The nuclear non-proliferation regime is at stake.

We will work collectively on a broader framework, covering nuclear activity, the post-2025 period, ballistic activity, and stability in the Middle-East, notably Syria, Yemen, and Iraq.

In a press conference on Tuesday EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini, who was one of the chief architects of the deal, said the EU was determined to uphold the pact, which is “delivering on its goals which guarantees that Iran will never develop nuclear weapons”.

United Nations

United Nations (UN) secretary-general Antonio Guterres urged members of the pact to stick to their commitments under the deal, despite the US exit.

Guterres said in a statement:

I call on other JCPOA participants to abide fully by their respective commitments under the JCPOA and on all other member-states to support this agreement.


Iranian President Hassan Rouhani warned there was only “short time” to negotiate with countries remaining in the deal, before Iran restarted its nuclear enrichment.

In a statement broadcast to the nation, Rouhani said:

I have ordered the foreign ministry to negotiate with the European countries, China and Russia in the coming weeks.

If we achieve the deal’s goals in co-operation with other members of the deal, it will remain in place.”

I have ordered Iran’s atomic organisation that whenever it is needed, we will start enriching uranium more than before.. in the next weeks.

Scenes from the Iranian parliament showed members burning a US flag and denouncing Trump’s “mental capacity”.


Russia’s foreign minister Sergei Lavrov said Russia was “deeply disappointed” at Trump’s withdrawal from the deal.

Moscow said the US pull-out signalled a “trampling on the norms of international law”.

We are extremely concerned that the United States is once again acting contrary to the opinion of most states and exclusively in its own self-serving and opportunistic interests, grossly trampling the norms of international law.


Turkey, who has made efforts to mend ties with Iran in recent years, said the US decision would “cause instability and new conflicts”.

A spokesman for President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Ibrahim Kalin, said via Twitter:

The unilateral withdrawal of the US from the nuclear deal is a decision that will cause instability and new conflicts,” “Turkey will continue to resolutely oppose all types of nuclear arms.

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