0205 GMT February 19, 2020
In a telephone conversation on Tuesday, Merkel said the United States and Israel would clash with their Western allies should US President Donald Trump withdraw his country from the nuclear agreement, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), according to Israel’s Channel 10 news.
“Do you want that to happen?” asked the German chancellor, who was re-elected by parliament for the fourth time.
During a meeting on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos in January, the German leader told the Israeli premier that the possible US exit from the JCPOA would also split the West, pitting the US and Israel against other signatories to the nuclear deal.
The TV report also quoted Merkel as saying that she told Netanyahu that Germany, Britain and France would oppose making any significant changes to the multilateral 2015 accord.
The German chancellor added that a US about-face on the JCPOA would undermine the future of international diplomatic efforts as no “problematic” countries would again sign an agreement because “they simply will not believe” that the West will uphold its side of the bargain.
Trump has repeatedly described the JCPOA, which was negotiated under his predecessor, Barack Obama, as “the worst and most one-sided transaction Washington has ever entered into,” a characterization he often used during his presidential campaign, and threatened to tear it up.
He delivered a 120-day ultimatum to America’s European allies on January 12 that they must agree to “fix the terrible flaws of the Iran nuclear deal” or he would refuse to extend US sanctions relief on Iran and would pull out of the deal.
The US under Trump has been seeking a revision of the deal and making modifications to it, such as the inclusion of Iran’s missile program in the agreement.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on March 16 warned the United States against the “painful mistake” of pulling out of the 2015 Iran nuclear agreement.
“Considering what has been envisaged in the JCPOA in the field of research and development and the Islamic Republic of Iran’s continued measures to develop its peaceful nuclear capability, if the US makes the mistake of exiting the JCPOA, it will definitely be a painful mistake for the Americans,” Zarif told reporters.
During the phone call, Netanyahu voiced his reservations to the nuclear agreement, claiming that it still leaves Tehran with a pathway to obtaining a nuclear weapon.
The European Union foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, said on March 19 that the bloc has no plans to impose more sanctions on Iran after reports emerged that European signatories to the JCPOA have proposed fresh sanctions against Tehran under the pressure of Washington.
“There is no proposal of additional sanctions against Iran. It is clearly not a matter of adding sanctions - no proposal in this respect today and clearly, no decision,” Mogherini told reporters upon her arrival at a meeting of the Foreign Affairs Council.