France ignores Trump's call to exit Iran nuclear deal

AFP , Thursday 9 Jan 2020

French President Emmanuel Macron
French President Emmanuel Macron on the steps of the Elysee palace in Paris, France, January 7, 2020 (Photo: Reuters)

France said Thursday it remains "committed" to the 2015 Iran nuclear accord it signed with other world powers, despite Donald Trump urging the Europeans to quit the deal.

The US president on Wednesday pulled back from the brink of war with Iran after having ordered the killing of a top Iranian general, to which Tehran responded with missile strikes on Iraqi bases used by US forces.

But Trump, who withdrew the United Sates in 2018 from the Iran nuclear deal signed in Vienna, said that "the time has come" for the other co-signatories to do the same.

The French foreign ministry Thursday showed no signs of pulling out of the nuclear deal.

"France remains committed to the framework of the Vienna Iran nuclear accord," said a ministry spokeswoman, Agnes von der Muehll.

She added that France "continues to work with the other parties" to the deal, meaning the other signatories -- Britain, Germany, Russia and China along with Iran.

After the US reimposed sanctions on Iran, Tehran started breaching some aspects of the accord and on Sunday announced that it no longer felt compelled to stick to any limit on the number of its centrifuges for making the enriched uranium needed for nuclear power.

However, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani told British Prime Minister Boris Johnson during a phone call Thursday that Iran is willing to fully restore its nuclear commitments if the European parties to the agreement "go back to their (own) commitments" and help Tehran circumvent US sanctions, his office said in a statement.

The European signatories must decide in the coming days whether to take action against Tehran for reneging on its commitments which could lead to reimposing UN sanctions.

A special meeting of the foreign ministers of the European Union is scheduled for Friday in Brussels to discuss the Iranian crisis.

EU president Charles Michel defended the Iran nuclear deal on Thursday and warned Rouhani against taking any "irreversible action".

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