Regret as US ditches Iran nuclear deal

World powers involved in the Iran nuclear deal have expressed regret at President Donald Trump’s decision to pull the United States out of the landmark pact as concerns mount it will undermine efforts to halt the spread of atomic weapons.

Signatories to the 2015 deal to curb Iran’s nuclear ambitions have urged Trump not to fundamentally undermine the UN Security Council-endorsed agreement so that the other parties – Britain, France, Germany, Russia, China and Iran – can continue to respect it.

“Together, we emphasise our continuing commitment to the (deal). This agreement remains important for our shared security,” French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and British Prime Minister Theresa May said in a joint statement Tuesday after discussing the move.

The three called on Washington to “ensure that the structures of the (agreement) can remain intact, and to avoid taking action which obstructs its full implementation by all other parties to the deal.”

Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani says Tehran is aiming to continue to comply with the deal’s terms, and will swiftly reach out to signatories Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China to keep it in place.

But Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has praised the US president’s decision saying it’s a “a historic move”.

Saudi Arabia also welcomed Trump’s call issuing a statement through state media that Iran had exploited the agreement’s economic benefits and continued to destabilise the region by developing ballistic missiles.

In New York, Russia’s deputy ambassador to the United Nations, Dmitry Polyansky, said “we are disappointed” at the US announcement.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres described the deal as “a major achievement” that “has contributed to regional and international peace and security” and said he was “deeply concerned” by the US decision.

European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini had concerns about Trump’s suggestion of new sanctions being slapped on Iran.

“I am particularly worried by the announcement tonight of new sanctions,” Mogherini told reporters in Rome, adding that she would consult with Europe’s partners about any new measures “to assess their implications.”

In a televised address in Israel, Netanyahu hailed Trump’s decision and said that leaving the deal unchanged would be “a recipe for disaster, a disaster for our region, a disaster for the peace of the world.”

The precise impact of Trump’s decision will probably take some time to decipher.

In the short term, US. Congress now has about 60 days to decide its next move.

Iran can also trigger a dispute mechanism in the agreement, opening a maximum 45-day window for the airing of grievances and to seek a compromise. This could buy three months of valuable time.

Trump’s threats have baffled the Europeans who say the deal is working and note that the International Atomic Energy Agency has now certified 10 times that Iran is in compliance with its obligations.