Prime Minister Theresa May said in a statement issued on behalf of the three nations ‘it is with regret and concern that we … take note of President Trump’s decision to withdraw the United States of America from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.’
But EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini potentially put Europe on a collision course with the US by suggesting the European Union is determined to save the agreement, declaring ‘together with the rest of the international community, we will preserve this nuclear deal.’
Mogherini said the accord ‘is delivering on its goal which is guaranteeing that Iran doesn’t develop nuclear weapons,’ before making a direct appeal to the Iranian leader to stick to the 2015 agreement.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani meanwhile said his country will remain in the deal, and will instead trade with the other countries which signed it. Although, crucially, it remains unclear whether the US would choose to impose sanctions on countries, or foreign companies who take up Rouhani’s offer.
In a joint statement from Mrs May, Ms Merkel and Mr Macron following Trump’s statement on Iran, the leaders’ said: ‘Together, we emphasise our continuing commitment to the JCPoA. This agreement remains important for our shared security.
‘We recall that the JCPoA was unanimously endorsed by the UN Security Council in resolution 2231. This resolution remains the binding international legal framework for the resolution of the dispute about the Iranian nuclear programme.
‘We urge all sides to remain committed to its full implementation and to act in a spirit of responsibility.’
US president Donald Trump has fiercely criticised the agreement with Iran, which eased sanctions in exchange for commitments to abandon its nuclear weapons programme
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani meanwhile said his country will remain in the deal, and will instead trade with the other countries which signed it
Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson spent two days in Washington at the weekend making a last ditch push to save the agreement.
Lord William Hague warned quitting the deal would show Kim Jong-Un the US cannot be trusted to ‘honour its word’.
But the attempt to change his mind failed tonight as Mr Trump told French President Emmanuel Macron he would press ahead.
Mr Trump has fiercely criticised the deal negotiated under Barack Obama, which eased sanctions on Tehran in exchange for commitments to abandon its nuclear weapons programme.
Joint statement from Prime Minister Theresa May, Chancellor Angela Merkel and President Emmanuel Macron following President Trump’s statement on Iran
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 the United States of America from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.
Together, we emphasise our continuing commitment to the JCPoA. This agreement remains important for our shared security. We recall that the JCPoA was unanimously endorsed by the UN Security Council in resolution 2231. This resolution remains the binding international legal framework for the resolution of the dispute about the Iranian nuclear programme. We urge all sides to remain committed to its full implementation and to act in a spirit of responsibility.
According to the IAEA, 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. Therefore we, the E3, will remain parties to the JCPoA. Our governments remain committed to ensuring the agreement is upheld, and will work with all the remaining parties to the deal to ensure this remains the case including through ensuring the continuing economic benefits to the Iranian people that are linked to the agreement.
We urge the US to ensure that the structures of the JCPoA can remain intact, and to avoid taking action which obstructs its full implementation by all other parties to the deal. After engaging with the US Administration in a thorough manner over the past months, we call on the US to do everything possible to preserve the gains for nuclear non-proliferation brought about by the JCPoA, by allowing for a continued enforcement of its main elements.
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. The IAEA must be able to continue to carry out its long-term verification and monitoring programme without restriction or hindrance. In turn, Iran should continue to receive the sanctions relief it is entitled to whilst it remains in compliance with the terms of the deal.
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.
Former Cabinet minister Lord Hague (left) warned that Kim Jong-Un (right) would find it difficult to trust the word of the US if Trump rips up the Iran deal
Appearing on the Fox & Friends programme yesterday – known to be Mr Trump’s favourite news show – Mr Johnson said the president had a ‘legitimate point’ that the Iran pact was not perfect
There has been speculation he will stop short of torpedoing it altogether – potentially exempting European firms who trade with Iran from sanctions.
EU states have said they will try to hold the package together even if the US withdraws cooperation.
Writing in the Daily Telegraph, Lord Hague said that ripping up the deal would be a ‘very great error’.
He wrote: ‘If he is wavering, he should picture himself sitting across from Kim (Jong-Un) in the near future.
‘Ending the Iran deal would mean that what the US signs up to in one year, it can abrogate three years later.
‘And that in turn would not bode well for an agreement with North Korea or the stability of the Middle East – and thereby for the peace of the world.’
Appearing on the Fox & Friends programme yesterday – known to be Mr Trump’s favourite news show – Mr Johnson said the president had a ‘legitimate point’ that the pact was not perfect.
But he appealed for the US not to throw the ‘baby out with the bathwater’ by ditching the arrangements altogether.
‘If you do that you have to answer the question what next? ‘What if the Iranians do rush for a nuclear weapon?’ he said.
‘Are we seriously saying that we are going to bomb those facilities at Fordo and Natanz?
‘Is that really a realistic possibility? Or do we work round what we have got and push back on Iran together?’
Mr Johnson added: ‘Plan B does not seem to me to be particularly well-developed at this stage.’
In an article for the New York Times, Mr Johnson admitted the pact with Iran had ‘weaknesses’ but insisted it was the best way of defusing the standoff.
The Foreign Secretary is holding two days of talks with senior administration officials including vice president Mike Pence.
He will also meet national security adviser John Bolton and key foreign policy leaders in Congress – although he will not get to sit down with Mr Trump himself.
As well as Iran, Mr Johnson’s talks are expected to cover North Korea – ahead of President Trump’s planned meeting with Kim Jong-un – and the situation in Syria.
In a separate interview during the visit, Mr Johnson appeared to hold out an incentive for Mr Trump to do a deal on Iran – suggesting he could end up winning the Nobel Peace Prize.
He told Sky News: ‘If he can fix North Korea and if he can fix the Iran nuclear deal then I don’t see why he is any less of a candidate for the Nobel Peace Prize than Barack Obama, who got it before he even did anything.’
Writing in the New York Times today, Mr Johnson said: ‘Of all the options we have for ensuring that Iran never gets a nuclear weapon, this pact offers the fewest disadvantages.
‘It has weaknesses, certainly, but I am convinced they can be remedied. Indeed at this moment Britain is working alongside the Trump administration and our French and German allies to ensure that they are.’
Mr Johnson said the deal had put restrictions on Iran’s nuclear programme and ‘now that these handcuffs are in place, I see no possible advantage in casting them aside’.
Iran president Hassan Rouhani has warned Mr Trump the West will regret ‘like never before’ if it sinks the nuclear deal with his country
‘Only Iran would gain from abandoning the restrictions on its nuclear programme,’ he warned, adding: ‘At this delicate juncture, it would be a mistake to walk away from the nuclear agreement and remove the restraints that it places on Iran.
‘The UK’s ambassador to the United States Sir Kim Darroch said the Iran agreement was ‘a good deal’ but efforts were ongoing to ‘find some language, produce some action that meets the president’s concerns’.
Mr Trump has threatened to withdraw from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) deal signed by the US, China, Russia, Germany, France and Britain with Iran.
Under its terms Iran is committed to a peaceful nuclear energy programme.
But Mr Trump has been a vocal critic of the agreement and in January issued an ultimatum to ‘either fix the deal’s disastrous flaws, or the United States will withdraw’.
In a magazine interview, French President Emmanuel Macron warned a decision by Trump to withdraw could lead to war.
‘We would open the Pandora’s box. There could be war,’ Macron told German weekly magazine Der Spiegel, adding ‘I don’t think that Donald Trump wants war.’
Macron urged Trump not to withdraw when he met him in Washington late last month.
Earlier this month Mr Johnson stressed the importance of keeping the deal ‘while building on it in order to take account of the legitimate concerns of the US’.
The European Union has said the deal ‘is working and it needs to be preserved’.
French President Emmanuel Macron has warned scrapping the deal could lead to war and lobbied Mr Trump on a recent visit to Washington