World leaders on Tuesday said they were dismayed and concerned after President Trump announced his decision to pull the U.S. out of the nuclear deal with Iran.
European leaders said they would stay committed to the accord even after Trump defied allies and other world leaders in breaking the commitment.
European leaders and diplomats have for months urged Trump not to pull out of the 2015 accord. But in Trump's announcement from the White House, he said he had no choice, calling the deal "defective at its core."
In recent days, U.S. allies, including British Prime Minister Theresa May, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Emmanuel Macron and United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres have all warned Trump not to scrap the deal. However, they have also conceded that the pact negotiated by former president Barack Obama is far from perfect and needs some "fixes."
In a joint statement after Trump's announcement, May, Merkel and Macron emphasized their "concern" about Trump's decision and said they would continue to adhere to the Iranian deal because it's made the world "a safer place."
The statement called on the U.S. to ensure that the structure of the deal stay intact and "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 [Iran deal], by allowing for a continued enforcement of its main elements," the statement read.
The leaders also urged Iran to "show restraint in response to the decision by the US."
Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani addressed Trump's announcement in a televised news conference, explaining the regime would continue to stick to the accord for now but called out the U.S. as not being loyal on the international agreements.
"Iran is a country that adheres to its commitments," he said. "The United States is a country that has never adhered to its commitments."
Some experts see Trump’s announcement as just the latest dig to long-standing allies in Europe.
“Trump’s move is a further blow to transatlantic relations, coming close on the heels of EU-US discord over climate change, steel tariffs and the US decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel,” said Shada Islam, Director of Europe & Geopolitics at Friends of Europe, a Brussels think-tank.
Islam said “it illustrates very deep differences in EU and US worldviews” and could be viewed as a “personal affront” to European leaders who recently visited Trump in the nation’s capital.
“It will take time, effort and energy to repair the transatlantic rift – and there is unlikely to be much EU enthusiasm to do so immediately.”
Ahead of the announcement, British foreign secretary Boris Johnson said he didn't believe there was much of a plan if the deal was dismantled.
"Plan B does not seem, to me, to be particularly well developed at this stage," Johnson said Monday on "Fox & Friends" in Washington. "If you do that you have to answer the question what next? What if the Iranians do rush for a nuclear weapon?" he added.
Under the terms of the accord, the U.S. and others withdrew economic sanctions on Iran in return for it giving up the means to make nuclear weapons. But the deal has time limits and does not address Iran’s ballistic missile program or regional policies.
Eshaq Jahangiri, Iran’s first vice president, said only the "naive" would negotiate with the U.S. again if Trump "violates the deal," according to Iran's Tasnim News Agency.
Many weren't surprised by Trump's announcement as he's criticized the deal for years, including before his campaign for president. Now, many wonder what comes next and whether other nations involved in the deal, including the United Kingdom, Russia, France, China and Germany, can keep it in place without the U.S.
"The spotlight now turns to Iran and the other participants in the nuclear deal – principally in Europe – to see how they react," said Tom Cummins of Ashurst law firm in London, adding that now it remains unclear whether the deal can withstand US sanctions.
Iran's rial currency traded near record lows against the U.S. dollar on Tuesday, according to Bonbast.com, a foreign exchange website. The dip to around 65,000 rials for one dollar, down from 42,800 at the end of last year, could indicate that Iranians are selling the rial heavily amid concerns about Trump's decision to pull out of the deal and what the restarting of the sanctions could mean for the country's economy.
Oxford Economimcs released research showing, what Trump called, the "highest level of economic sanctions," could have a negative effect on oil prices and potentially the U.S. economy.
The sanctions "will lead to gradually and modestly reduced oil production by the world’s fifth
largest producer. In an environment of increased global supply tightness, this
will put further upward pressure on oil prices," the research briefing by economist Gregory Daco said.
Since taking office, Trump has withdrawn the U.S. from the Paris climate accord but backed down from pulling out of the North American Free Trade Agreement.