European leaders have come out strongly in support of sticking to the Iran nuclear deal, setting up a potential rift with US President Donald Trump who is said to be considering walking away from the agreement. Speaking at the United Nations on Wednesday, the EU’s foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, said that all parties are fulfilling their commitments and the agreement is being implemented. Her comments stand in stark contrast to those of Donald Trump, who used his maiden speech at the UN General Assembly the previous day to blast the agreement, calling it an embarrassment to the United States and the worst deal it ever entered into. According to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Trump has made a decision on whether or not the US will remain a party to the deal, but has yet to disclose that decision “externally”.
Also speaking at the UN, French President Emmanuel Macron voiced his strong support for the deal, which ended sanctions on Iran in return for a commitment to limit its uranium enrichment capacity. “Renouncing it would be a grave error, not respecting it would be irresponsible, because it is a good accord that is essential to peace at a time where the risk of a conflagration cannot be excluded,” Macron told world leaders in New York. Although Rex Tillerson admitted that the Iranians had been abiding by the letter of the agreement he said that they had violated it in spirit by continuing to develop its non-nuclear missile programme and lending support to Hezbollah and the Assad regime in Syria.
Responding to the Donald Trump’s remarks Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said: “it will be a great pity if this deal is destroyed by rogue newcomers to the world of politics”. According to the Guardian, Rouhani said that Iran’s response to the US pulling out of the deal would depend on how the EU reacted, but warned that they may consider ramping up uranium enrichment. Federica Mogherini confirmed that even if the US were to walk away, the EU would continue to uphold the agreement.