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Deadline looms as allies rally to save Iran nuclear deal from Trump

Trump and many Republicans have long opposed the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), which was signed in 2015 by the US, France, Germany, Russia, China and the European Union with Iran

world Updated: Apr 24, 2018 08:03 IST
Yashwant Raj
Yashwant Raj
Hindustan Times, Washington
French President Emmanuel Macron,Iran nuclear deal,Donald Trump
French President Emmanuel Macron speaks as he arrives at Andrews Air Force Base in the US on April 23, 2018.(AP)

French President Emmanuel Macron has said he has persuaded his American counterpart Donald Trump to keep his forces in Syria and limit strikes on chemical weapons facilities.

Macron and other European allies will now try to persuade Trump to not abandon the Iran nuclear deal.

The Iran deal, called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), was signed in 2015 by the US, France, Germany, Russia, China and the European Union with Iran to halt Tehran’s nuclear weapons programme. The plan must be certified every 90 days by the US president for America to stay in it.

Trump and many Republicans have long opposed the deal, saying the accord will allow Iran to resume its nuclear weapons programme after the sunset deadline, has left its ballistic missiles programme untouched, and has not held Tehran accountable for “malign” activities in the region.

The last time Trump certified the deal, he said he would not grant it the next certification, due mid-May, if the pact is not strengthened.

Macron is expected to bring up the deal when he meets Trump at the White House on Wednesday. Called the “Trump whisperer”, the French leader has said there is no Plan B for the deal and it must be preserved.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel will deliver Trump the same message when she visits Washington later this week. “We believe it’s better to have this agreement, even if it is not perfect, than to have no agreement,” Merkel told an Israeli TV channel on Sunday.

Europeans have acknowledged the deal is not perfect but argue it must be “preserved”, as efforts are made to consider additional safeguards, which Iran has said it will refuse to accept.

Speaking to reporters at the G-7 meeting in Toronto, German foreign minister Heiko Maas said: “We believe it is extremely important to uphold this agreement. Were it to fail or the US to drop out, we would not have anything comparable to it and we fear that the situation would significantly deteriorate with everything that goes with it.”

Even the Chinese and the Russians want the deal to continue and have said they will prevent any attempt by the US to wreck it.

Iranian foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, who is in New York for UN meetings, warned against tearing up the deal. “That’s a very dangerous message to send to people of Iran, but also to the people of the world — that you should never come to an agreement with the United States because at the end of the day, the operating principle of the United States is ‘what’s mine is mine, what’s yours is negotiable.”

First Published: Apr 23, 2018 23:29 IST