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Key European allies vow to uphold Iran deal after Trump reneges

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Key European allies vow to uphold Iran deal after Trump reneges

Image: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during a press conf
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Yiannis Kourtoglou Pool via AFP - Getty Images
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Key European allies expressed grave concerns over President Donald Trump's decision to withdraw the U.S. from the Iran nuclear agreement on Tuesday, vowing to continue the work of limiting Iran's nuclear program while urging the U.S. not to jeopardize gains already made under the deal.

In a joint statement issued after Trump's announcement, French President Emmanuel Macron, British Prime Minister Theresa May and German Chancellor Angela Merkel implored Iran "to show restraint" following the decision and called on the U.S. "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."

Macron also tweeted that the three countries, America and Iran's partners in the JCPOA, or Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, "regret" the U.S. decision, adding that the nations would "work collectively on a broader framework" moving forward.

Trump announced his decision to leave the JCPOA Tuesday afternoon, reneging on the landmark Obama-era accord, which also includes Russia and China, and raising the question of whether Tehran might respond by resuming its frozen weapons program.

In 2015, Iran agreed to halt its pursuit of nuclear weapons — and to allow international checks on its facilities — in exchange for moves by the U.S., several other countries and the United Nations to roll back sanctions that had crippled its economy.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, in a televised speech, said though America's withdrawal amounted to "psychological warfare," it would continue its talks with the remaining parties to the deal.

"We've known for months that President Trump wouldn't be committed to this deal," Rouhani said. "The Iranian foreign ministry will continue talks with remaining countries in the deal."

"I want to emphasize that people should not have any worries about the future of this country," he added. "The people are more united than ever, and there will be peace and stability in Iran."

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during a press conference with the Cypriot President and Greek Prime Minister at the Presidential Palace in Nicosia, Cyprus on May 8, 2018.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during a press conference with the Cypriot President and Greek Prime Minister at the Presidential Palace in Nicosia, Cyprus on May 8, 2018.Yiannis Kourtoglou

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has been a consistent critic of the deal, cheered Trump's decision, saying the agreement did not block Iran's path to a nuclear bomb and the current framework of the deal was a "recipe for disaster."

"The deal didn't push war further away it actually brought it closer, the deal didn't reduce Iran's aggression it dramatically increased it," he said at a press conference Tuesday. "This is why Isreal thinks that President Trump a historic move and this is why Israel thanks President Trump for his courageous leadership."

Prince Khalid bin Salman, the Saudi ambassador to the U.S., alsotweeted his support of Trump's actions, saying that the country "always had reservations" about the agreement.