UNITED NATIONS — Major world leaders were dismayed by President Donald Trump’s announcement Tuesday to withdraw from a multinational pact designed to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons, saying the deal — while not perfect — was working.
The leaders of France, Germany and Britain, three western European powers involved in the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, were quick to express disappointment at Trump’s move on the deal, which he denounced as “horrible.”
Trump had promised to walk away from the deal when he campaigned for president.
“It is with regret and concern that we, the leaders of France, Germany and the United Kingdom take note of President Trump’s decision to withdraw,” read a statement by President Emmanuel Macron, Chancellor Angela Merkel and Prime Minister Theresa May. “Together, we emphasize our continuing commitment . . . This agreement remains important for our shared security.”
They added that, because of the 2015 pact forged with the United States, Russia, China and Iran, “The world is a safer place,” vowing to adhere to it despite the U.S. pullout.
European Union High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini, who handles foreign policy on behalf of the 28-nation economic and political collective, said Trump’s maneuver was unfortunate — and she asked Trump to reverse it.
“The United States remains our closest partner and friend, and we will continue to work together on many other issues,” she said. “As we have always said, the nuclear deal is not a bilateral agreement and it is not in the hands of any single country to terminate it unilaterally.”
Former President Barack Obama, whose administration helped craft the landmark Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action agreement that experts consider one of his finest achievements, called the pullout a mistake.
“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,” he said. “Indeed . . . walking away from the JCPOA risks losing a deal that accomplishes — with Iran — the very outcome that we are pursuing with the North Koreans. That is why today’s announcement is so misguided.”
In Manhattan, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said he was “deeply concerned” that scrapping the agreement and resuming sanctions could imperil world peace.
“I have consistently reiterated that the JCPOA represents a major achievement in nuclear nonproliferation and diplomacy and has contributed to regional and international peace and security . . . I call on other JCPOA participants to abide fully by their respective commitments under the JCPOA.”
But Israel’s UN ambassador, Danny Danon, celebrated the withdrawal as an “historic decision that provides the prospect for a new era of security and stability in the Middle East.”
And Nikki Haley, U.S. ambassador to the UN, said: “The president absolutely made the right decision to pull out of the Iran nuclear deal.” She added:, “This was a terrible deal that only allowed Iran’s bad international conduct to worsen.”