WORLD NEWS
05/08/2018 16:35 EDT | Updated 05/09/2018 12:15 EDT

World Leaders Condemn Trump For Withdrawing From Iran Nuclear Deal

France, the U.K. and Germany had attempted a last-ditch push to get Trump to change his mind in recent weeks.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Tuesday vowed to stay in the Iran nuclear deal shortly after President Donald Trump announced that the U.S. will withdraw from the multinational pact, a decision that ignited outcry and concern from fellow world leaders.

Rouhani, in a blistering televised address, criticized the U.S. as a country that “never adheres to its commitments” and accused its people of having “always adopted a hostile approach.”

“By exiting the deal, America has officially undermined its commitment to an international treaty,” he said.

Jonathan Ernst / Reuters
President Donald Trump on Tuesday announced that the U.S. will withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal.

Rouhani said his country will continue to work with other nations that are part of the agreement, though it will resume its nuclear activities if the deal’s goals are not met.

“If we achieve the deal’s goals in cooperation with other members of the deal, it will remain in place,” he said.

Iranian state television also called Trump’s decision to withdraw “illegal, illegitimate and undermines international agreements,” Reuters reported.

Turkish Economy Minister Nihat Zeybekci said his country will continue its trade with Iran and not answer to anyone else on the matter. 

“From now on, we will carry out our trade with Iran, within the possible framework, until the end, and we will not give account to anyone for this,” Zeybekci said in an interview with broadcaster CNN Turk.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has long opposed the deal, appeared to be one of the few international leaders to immediately applaud Trump’s decision. In a short televised address on Tuesday, he said the deal with Iran was “a disaster for our region, a disaster for the peace of the world.”

Key players in the race to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons have meanwhile reacted with alarm and concern to Trump’s announcement.

British Prime Minister Theresa May, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron released a joint statement that expressed disappointment in Trump’s decision to withdraw from the agreement known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA.

“Together, we emphasise our continuing commitment to the JCPoA. This agreement remains important for our shared security,” the statement read. 

“According to the [International Atomic Energy Agency],” an agency that has monitored and verified Iran’s nuclear-related commitments, “Iran continues to abide by the restrictions set out by the JCPoA, in line with its obligations under the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. The world is a safer place as a result,” the statement continued.

Macron, tweeting shortly after Trump’s announced decision, re-emphasized that shared upset.

“The nuclear non-proliferation regime is at stake,” he said, adding that France will work on a broader agreement to cover Iran’s nuclear activity, ballistics program and regional activities.

Former President Barack Obama and Former Secretary of State John Kerry also chimed in, with Obama defending the JCPOA as a pact that was “working.”

“The JCPOA is in America’s interest ― it has significantly rolled back Iran’s nuclear program. And the JCPOA is a model for what diplomacy can accomplish ― its inspections and verification regime is precisely what the United States should be working to put in place with North Korea,” the former president’s statement said. “Indeed, at a time when we are all rooting for diplomacy with North Korea to succeed, walking away from the JCPOA risks losing a deal that accomplishes ― with Iran ― the very outcome that we are pursuing with the North Koreans.”

Kerry also lamented Trump’s decision in his own statement, saying it “weakens our security, breaks America’s word, isolates us from our European allies, puts Israel at greater risk, empowers Iran’s hardliners, and reduces our global leverage to address Tehran’s misbehavior, while damaging the ability of future Administrations to make international agreements.”

Macron and his fellow European co-signatories had taken turns trying to convince Trump to remain committed to the deal. In addition to reports of diplomatic wrangling between Europe and the U.S. over the past few weeks, U.K. foreign secretary Boris Johnson traveled to the U.S. Monday, hammering home his position in a media blitz. 

Johnson insisted in an op-ed for The New York Times that leaders could work on the deal’s flaws. On the president’s morning cable news show of choice, “Fox & Friends,” Johnson urged Trump not to “throw the baby out with the bathwater.” He then told Sky News that Trump would be worthy of a Nobel Peace Prize if he could fix the deal. 

Johnson expressed his upset over Trump’s decision on Tuesday but affirmed that the “U.K. remains strongly committed to the JCPOA.”

Both Merkel and Macron also traveled to Washington in recent weeks to have similar conversations with Trump.

Macron said France doesn’t plan to leave the agreement but is happy to work with Trump in crafting a new, more comprehensive deal that addresses some of the issues that both countries feel were left out of the current version. French officials made it even more clear that they’re committed to the existing deal in the lead-up to Trump’s announcement. 

Kevin Lamarque / Reuters
Trump greets Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel during a joint news conference at the White House last month.

“We are determined to save this deal because this accord safeguards against nuclear proliferation and is the right way to stop Iran getting a nuclear weapon,”  French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said Monday.

Netanyahu pulled out the big guns last week in his push to get Trump to scrap it altogether. 

“Iran lied, big time,” he said in a speech delivered in English. 

ATTA KENARE via Getty Images
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, seen last month, had said that if the U.S. left the nuclear deal it would be a "historic" mistake.

Iran has made clear that it has no intention of renegotiating or forging a new deal.

“If America leaves the nuclear deal, this will entail historic regret for it,” Rouhani warned in a televised speech earlier this month. Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif suggested in April that if the U.S. pulled out of the nuclear accord, his country could also exit the deal and resume its nuclear program at a “much greater speed.” Iran has no reason to continue to abide by the agreement if the economic benefits “start to diminish,” he said.