If the United States terminates the Iran nuclear deal or reimposes sanctions on Tehran it could result in Iran developing nuclear weapons and raise the danger of war close to Europe, Germany's foreign minister said yesterday.
US President Donald Trump refused on Friday to formally certify that Tehran was complying with the 2015 accord even though international inspectors say it is. He warned he might ultimately terminate the agreement.
German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel told Deutschlandfunk radio that Trump had sent a "difficult and dangerous signal" when the US administration was also dealing with the North Korea nuclear crisis.
He said if the United States terminated the deal or if sanctions were reimposed on Tehran, it would give Iranian hardliners, who are against negotiations with the West, the upper hand.
"Then they might revert to developing nuclear weapons," Gabriel said, adding Israel would not tolerate that and "then we will be back where we were 10, 12 years ago with the danger of war relatively close to Europe".
He urged the United States not to endanger the security of its allies and its own people for domestic policy reasons.
Hailed by Trump's predecessor Barack Obama as key to stopping Iran from building a nuclear bomb, the deal was also signed by China, France, Russia, Britain, Germany and the European Union.
European allies have warned of a split with Washington over the nuclear agreement and say that putting it in limbo undermines US credibility abroad.
"We encourage the US Administration and Congress to consider the implications to the security of the US and its allies before taking any steps that might undermine the JCPOA, such as re-imposing sanctions on Iran lifted under the agreement," French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and British Prime Minister Theresa May said in a joint statement.
In Brussels, Federica Mogherini, the EU foreign policy chief, said the Iran deal is an international agreement and "it is not up to any single country to terminate it."
In a statement after Trump's speech, Russia's foreign ministry said there was no place in international diplomacy for "threatening" and "aggressive" rhetoric, adding that such methods were doomed to fail.