UK, Germany, France agree Iran deal is ‘best way’ to stop nuclear threat

Trio of European leaders pledged to work with US on ‘challenges’ posed by Iran.

Photo: Ludovic Marin via EPA

 

The leaders of the U.K., Germany and France agreed this weekend that the Iran nuclear deal is the “best way” to prevent the country from becoming armed with nuclear weapons.

British Prime Minister Theresa May spoke with French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel separately on Saturday and Sunday to discuss the Iran deal as well as U.S. tariffs, according to No. 10 Downing Street. A German government spokesman also confirmed Merkel’s conversation with May, as well as her own phone call with Macron on Saturday.

“They discussed the importance of the Iran nuclear deal … as the best way of neutralising the threat of a nuclear-armed Iran, agreeing that our priority as an international community remained preventing Iran from developing a nuclear weapon,” Downing Street said in a statement.

“They agreed that there were important elements that the deal does not cover, but which we need to address — including ballistic missiles, what happens when the deal expires and Iran’s destabilising regional activity.”

Downing Street said May, Merkel and Macron also pledged to “continue working closely” with the U.S. on the issue, including on “those issues that a new deal might cover.”

The statement comes after both Macron and Merkel visited U.S. President Donald Trump in Washington within the past week. Macron had hoped to convince Trump to stay in the deal, but said that after his conversations with the U.S. leader, it appeared likely Trump would withdraw from the Obama-era accord on May 12, when a decision is due on whether to extend a suspension of sanctions against Iran.

During his White House visit, Macron floated the possibility of a “new deal” that would complete the current accord by making its terms stricter in several areas. Trump signaled openness to the idea, without endorsing it explicitly. But the two leaders did not come to an agreement over whether to keep the current deal and seek additional concessions from Iran, or tear it up and start over again.

Newly appointed U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Friday, after a meeting with foreign ministers at NATO, that he was working to address Trump’s complaints about the Iran nuclear accord, and that Trump would quit the deal unless there was “a substantive fix.”

The European leaders also discussed the impact of recently imposed U.S. tariffs on steel and aluminum, for which the EU received a temporary exemption, according to Downing Street.

The trio expressed “concern” about the tariffs, and said they would continue to push for a permanent exemption for the EU.

Source :

Politico

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