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World decries Trump's Iran move as Saudi Arabia, Israel cheer

Trump's decision to withdraw from the Iran deal has been condemned by world leaders [Getty]

Date of publication: 9 May, 2018

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With the exception of Saudi Arabia and Israel, world leaders have reacted with fury and despair over Trump's decision to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal.

US President Donald Trump has defied the pleas of his European allies and pulled the United States out of the Iran nuclear deal - a decision that has drawn fury from Tehran, regret from Europe and cheers from Israel and Saudi Arabia.

Explainer: The landmark 2015 Iran nuclear deal

While Trump's "friends" in the Middle East were overjoyed, there was no disguising the dismay in European capitals, whose diplomats see the deal as the best way of keeping tabs on Iran's ambitions while heading off the risk of a destabilizing new arms race in the Middle East, where tensions are already soaring between Tehran and both Israel and the Gulf monarchies.

The following is a selection of reactions from world powers to Trump's decision: 

Iran fury

"This decision was an act of psychological warfare against Iran," said President Hassan Rouhani, adding "I have instructed the Iranian Atomic Energy Organization to take the necessary measures for future actions so that, if necessary, we can resume industrial enrichment without limit."

France, Germany, Britain regret

"France, Germany and the UK regret the US decision to leave the JCPOA," French president Emmanuel Macron wrote on Twitter. "The nuclear non-proliferation regime is at stake. We will work collectively on a broader framework, covering nuclear activity, the post-2025 period, ballistic activity and stability in the Middle East, notably Syria, Yemen and Iraq."

Russia "deeply disappointed"

Washington's actions were "flagrantly trampling on the norms of international law", the foreign ministry said, saying it is  "fresh proof of Washington's inability to negotiate".

It alleged that US criticism of Iran's "absolutely legal nuclear activity" was "just a smokescreen for settling political scores with it." 

Turkey's fears

The Turkish presidency said it feared the pullout could open up "new conflicts".

"The unilateral withdrawal of the United States from the nuclear deal is a decision that will cause instability and new conflicts," said Ibrahim Kalin, spokesman for President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, on Twitter. 

"Turkey will continue to resolutely oppose all types of nuclear arms."

Saudi Arabia support

The regional rival of Iran and longtime US ally, said it "supports and welcomes" Trump's decision.

"The kingdom supports and welcomes the steps announced by the US president towards withdrawing from the nuclear deal... and reinstating economic sanctions against Iran," the foreign ministry said.

Riyadh's allies in the Gulf, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, also issued statements via their foreign ministries in support of Trump's decision.

Israel overjoyed

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu praised the "bold decision to reject the disastrous nuclear deal with the terrorist regime in Tehran". 

He added leaving the current deal in place was "a recipe for disaster, a disaster for our region, a disaster for the peace of the world".

"This is why Israel thinks that President Trump did an historic move."

Obama ire

The former president was dismayed at the decision to withdraw from the deal, which his administration brokered in 2015.

"The reality is clear. The JCPOA is working... That is why today's announcement is so misguided... I believe that the decision to put the JCPOA at risk without any Iranian violation of the deal is a serious mistake."

EU to "stay true"

The EU is "determined to preserve" the Iran nuclear deal despite the US withdrawal, the bloc's diplomatic chief Federica Mogherini said, pledging to "stay true" if Tehran stuck to its commitments.

The 2015 accord "is delivering on its goal which is guaranteeing that Iran doesn't develop nuclear weapons, the European Union is determined to preserve it," Mogherini said.

UN plea

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres urged the other signatories of the Iran nuclear deal to stick to their commitments, adding he was "deeply concerned" by the US decision to pull out of the agreement that he described as a "major achievement in nuclear non-proliferation and diplomacy".

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