The EU, Russia, China and Turkey have rallied behind Iran, trying to salvage the international nuclear pact after President Donald Trump pulled the United States out of the landmark accord.
Reuters quoted a source at the French presidency as saying Wednesday that France and its European allies will work hard to safeguard the interests of their businesses in Iran.
“We will obviously do everything, in conjunction with our businesses, to protect their interests,” the source said.
Trump announced on Tuesday he would reimpose US economic sanctions on Iran to undermine what he called “a horrible one-sided deal that should have never, ever been made.”
“The deal is not dead. There’s an American withdrawal from the deal but the deal is still there,” French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian told RTL radio on Wednesday.
He said French President Emmanuel Macron would speak to his Iranian counterpart, Hassan Rouhani, later on Wednesday.
The contact would be followed by meetings next week, probably on Monday, involving the Iranians and European representatives from France, Britain and Germany, Le Drian added.
French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire described Trump’s decision on Iran as a mistake, saying Washington should not consider itself the world’s “economic policeman.”
The European Union’s diplomatic chief Federica Mogherini says the bloc is “determined to preserve” the Iran nuclear deal.
The 2015 agreement, worked out by the United States, France, Britain, Germany, Russia, China and Iran, lifted sanctions on Iran in exchange for Tehran limiting its nuclear program.
Trump said Tuesday that he would reinstate nuclear sanctions on Iran and impose “the highest level” of economic bans on the Islamic Republic.
Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said Germany “will try to keep alive this important agreement, which ensures the Middle East and the world as a whole are safer.”
The Iranian Parliament issues a statement denouncing the US exit from the landmark nuclear deal.
Russia’s acting Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov also said Moscow remained committed to the Iran nuclear deal, Interfax news agency reported.
China voiced regret over Trump’s decision and vowed to “safeguard” the agreement. “China regrets this decision made by the US,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told a regular press briefing.
Geng said China will maintain “normal economic and trade exchanges” with Iran despite Trump’s decision to withdraw from the 2015 accord and reimpose sanctions on Tehran.
“China calls on all relevant parties to assume a responsible attitude” in order “to return at an early date to the right track of implementing the deal,” he said.
The spokesman reiterated Beijing’s opposition to unilateral sanctions and “long-arm jurisdiction.”
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Washington will be the loser from Trump’s decision to leave the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.
Erdogan told CNN International in an interview to be broadcast in full on Wednesday evening that he feared fresh crises would break out in the region as a result of the move.
“We don’t need new crises in the region,” he said, adding it was Washington who risked losing as Tehran would fulfill its side of the bargain and stick to the accord.
“The US would be the ones to lose,” he said. “Iran will never compromise on this agreement, and will abide by this agreement to the end… that’s what I think. However, the US will lose in the end.”
Erdogan rebuked Turkey’s NATO ally for ripping up the agreement, which was signed under the administration of his predecessor Barack Obama. “This is not how the international mechanisms work,” he said.
“International covenants and international conventions cannot be annulled at will. If any document bears your signature, you need to respect that. You need to abide by that,” Erdogan was quoted as saying.
Erdogan said even if the US may be able to enjoy windfalls from rising oil prices as a result of the move it would have a negative effect on the world economy.
“Many of the countries, in poverty, will be hit even harder and deeper,” he said.