0606 GMT January 22, 2018
The German government said it will seek more detail on what the US wants regarding the nuclear deal with Iran after President Donald Trump demanded that European allies fix what he called “terrible flaws.”
Chancellor Angela Merkel’s spokesman, Steffen Seibert, stressed Monday that Germany stands by the nuclear deal. He said that Germany will analyze the situation with its European partners, AP reported.
Trump threatened Friday to pull the US out of the nuclear deal in a few months’ time. Iran has said it’s not interested in any renegotiation.
German Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Adebahr said officials will sit down with the Americans and “see what goal and request exactly Mr. Trump’s comments contain.” She said that Trump’s statement appeared to have been directed “first and foremost to his own Congress.”
On Friday, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif slammed Trump's reluctant announcement on Iran's nuclear sanctions waiver as a "desperate attempt" to undermine a "nonnegotiable" international deal.
"Trump's policy and today’s announcement amount to desperate attempts to undermine a solid multilateral agreement, maliciously violating its paragraphs 26, 28 and 29," Zarif tweeted, in reaction to Trump's stance against the nuclear deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), Press TV reported.
The "JCPOA is not renegotiable: rather than repeating tired rhetoric, US must bring itself into full compliance – just like Iran," Zarif added.
Earlier in the day, Trump reluctantly agreed not to reimpose nuclear sanctions against Iran for another 120 days, but he cautioned it would be "for the last time."
"Despite my strong inclination, I have not yet withdrawn the United States from the Iran nuclear deal. Instead, I have outlined two possible paths forward: either fix the deal’s disastrous flaws, or the United States will withdraw," Trump said in a statement.
The US president expressed readiness to work with Congress on legislation which he said must incorporate four elements.
According to the statement, the legislation must oblige Iran to allow inspection of all the sites requested by international inspectors, ensure that Iran "never comes close" to possessing a nuclear weapon, have no expiration date and stipulate that long-range missile and nuclear programs are "inseparable" to subject Iran’s development and testing of missiles to "severe sanctions."
The spokesman for the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran Behrouz Kamalvandi stressed that, "No one in Iran will permit the IAEA access to military sites, such access is not part of the nuclear deal, the Additional Protocol or its safeguards agreement".
Trump also noted that, apart from the planned legislation, his administration is engaged with the European signatories to the nuclear deal to "secure a new supplemental agreement" that can never expire and would slap new multilateral sanctions against Iran if Tehran "develops or tests long-range missiles, thwarts inspections, or makes progress toward a nuclear weapon."
On Thursday, European powers reaffirmed their determination to preserve the agreement.
After a meeting with Zarif in Brussels, the EU’s foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, and the top diplomats from Germany, France and Britain, took turns to deliver a statement in defense of the nuclear agreement.
“The focus of today’s meeting was on the ongoing work to ensure full and continued implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the nuclear deal with Iran, by all parties,” Mogherini said.
“The deal is working; it is delivering on its main goal which is keeping the Iranian nuclear program in check and under close surveillance,” she said, highlighting nine reports by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) confirming Iran’s compliance with the deal.