Iran’s FM calls on world to save nuclear deal, as Netanyahu heads to Europe in a bid to kill it

While Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu bids for Europe to nix the nuclear deal with Tehran, Iran’s Foreign Minister urges them to stand up to the bullying and condemn the US for violating the accord.

Rallying for a tough line against its arch-foe, Iran, Netanyahu set off to Europe, determined to convince German, French and British leaders, signatories of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), to pull their countries out of the deal.

“This week I will meet with three European leaders Emmanuel Macron, Angela Merkel and Theresa May,” Netanyahu said on his Twitter. “Israel will not let Iran obtain nuclear arms,” Prime Minister highlighted, reaffirming his accusation that Iran had lied about its nuclear program and had therefore breached the accord.

Meanwhile, in an intensified attempt to salvage the accord, Iran’s FM  Mohammad Javad Zarif labelled Washington’s unilateral withdrawal from the deal as “illegal” and called on the world to hold the US accountable for seeking to weaken the JCPOA and the UN Resolution 2231 that endorsed the landmark agreement.

“Illegal withdrawal of the US government from the JCPOA, especially bullying methods used by this government to bring other governments in line, has discredited the rule of law while challenging the principles of the UN Charter and efficiency of international bodies,” the Foreign Minister said in a letter to his counterparts.

Zarif highlighted that since the accord came as a result of “accurate, sensitive and balanced multilateral” talks, Washington’s unilateral steps to sabotage it would neither alter the ongoing negotiations nor nullify the collaboration with the other five signatories of the pact.

“The JCPOA does not belong only to its signatories in a way that one side will be able to arbitrarily and irresponsibly reject it, based on its domestic policy or political differences with a former ruling administration,” the Minister said.

Historically opposed to the JCPOA, Tel Aviv had been forcing the US to punish Tehran for having allegedly breached the accord - claiming Iran secretly cultivated a nuclear program. Although Netanyahu’s cheerleading against the JCPOA was successful with Trump, odds are high that attempts to do so with European signatories of the deal will be in vain.

Announced on May 8, president Trump’s decision to pull the US out of the JCPOA, which curbed Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for lifting sanctions, was applauded by Tel Aviv. However, Trump’s “America First” agenda has seriously damaged his credibility in the eyes of his European allies.

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Britain, France and Germany had immediately rebuked Trump and vowed to honour the deal. Urging Europe to stop acting like “US vassals”, French President Emmanuel Macron advocated that Europe had to pursue what is in its best interest and continue its cooperation with Tehran. His German counterpart, Angela Merkel, had also insisted that Europe had to regain its sovereignty and “take its fate into its own hands”.

Despite Washington’s attempt to challenge Tehran by violating the most significant non-proliferation accord stipulated in more than a quarter of a century, Iran continues to stick to its obligations, the minister emphasised.