World reaction to President Donald Trump’s announcement that he is pulling the United States out of the Iran nuclear deal highlights a split across America and between some of its allies, while hardliners in the Iranian parliament today burned a U.S. flag and a copy of the agreement, shouting, “Down with America.”
Flag-burning is not uncommon there, observers said, but it was the first time many could remember anything being torched inside the chamber itself.
Elsewhere, shortly after Trump’s Tuesday announcement, the European Union’s top diplomat, Federica Mogherini, urged solidarity in the rest of the international community outside the United States.
“I am particularly worried by the announcement tonight of new sanctions,” she said, referencing to Trump’s plan reimpose economic sanctions on Ira. “The European Union is determined to preserve it. Together with the rest of the international community, we will preserve this nuclear deal.”
In a show of European alliance, Britain, France and Germany released a joint statement, pledging to remain in the 2015 agreement, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), saying the U.S. decision was a matter of “regret and concern.”
French President Emmanuel Macron, a long-time champion of the agreement whom Trump hosted at his first state visit last month, wrote on Twitter, “France, Germany and the U.K. regret the U.S. decision to leave the JCPOA. The nuclear non-proliferation regime is at stake.”
French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves le Drian said on French radio, “The deal is not dead. There’s an American withdrawal from the deal but the deal is still there.”
His German counterpart, Heiko Maas, said, “the deal makes the world safer,” adding, “We don’t think there is any justifiable reason to pull out of this agreement.”
European leaders will speak with Iranian officials in the coming days about ways to keep the agreement afloat without the United States and with the resumption of U.S sanctions on Tehran.
But Israeli President Benjamin Netanyahu was quick to praise Trump’s decision to pull the United States out of the agreement.
In April, Netanyahu made a presentation in front of a large screen outside the Israeli Defense Ministry in Tel Aviv, saying he had “conclusive proof” that Iran had lied about the status of its nuclear weapons program both before and after the 2015 agreement.
Under the deal signed by former President Barack Obama, five other world powers and Iran, sanctions were lifted in exchange for Iran’s willingness to curtail its nuclear program.
The deal was signed in Vienna three years ago by six world powers: the United States, the U.K., France, Germany, Russia, China and the European Union.
Now, however, Trump has called the deal “defective at its core.”
“At the heart of the Iran deal was a giant fiction, that a murderous regime desired only a peaceful, nuclear energy program,” “Today, we have definitive proof that this Iranian promise was a lie.”
Obama wrote a statement on Facebook, saying that the decision was “so misguided.”
“…The consistent flouting of agreements that our country is a party to risks eroding America’s credibility, and puts us at odds with the world’s major powers.”
In Iran, the supreme leader wrote on Twitter, “U.S. pres.’s shallow & ludicrous behavior wasn’t unexpected. The same behavior existed in previous U.S. presidents. Yet, Iranian nation is persistent while former U.S. presidents passed away and [Iran] is still standing. This man’s corpse will also be worm food while [Iran] stands strong.”
He also hinted at nuclear enrichment but in a capacity for energy use: “Nuclear energy is a necessity for the country; according to experts, in the next few years the country will need 20K megawatts of nuclear-generated electricity made by nuclear plants.”
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani announced preparations to begin industrial enrichment “without any limitations.”
“Until implementation of this decision, we will wait for some weeks and will talk with our friends and allies and other signatories of the nuclear deal, who signed it and who will remain loyal to it,” he said. “Everything depends on our national interests.”