UK, France and Germany nearing deal to save Iran nuke agreement

Macron called on the US not to abandon Iran nuclear deal as Western envoys said Britain, France and Germany were nearing a package that seeks to persuade Trump to save the pact.

French President Emmanuel Macron called on the United States not to abandon the Iran nuclear deal as Western envoys said Britain, France and Germany were nearing a package that seeks to persuade US President Donald Trump to save the pact.

Trump has described the 2015 accord, under which Iran agreed to curb its nuclear activities in return for the lifting of economic sanctions, as the worst deal ever negotiated and has threatened to wreck it by reimposing US penalties next month unless the three European allies agree to fix its “flaws.”

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani accused the United States of seeking to unilaterally change the terms of the multilateral deal and derided Trump as a “tradesman” lacking the background to handle with international affairs.

Russia, China, Germany, Britain and France, which all struck the accord with Iran and the United States, see the deal as the best way to stop Iran from developing a nuclear bomb.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres also believes the Iran nuclear deal must be preserved but that this achievement can be strengthened, his spokesman said.

Guterres believes that the Iran nuclear deal is “very important and it should be maintained,” said UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric. But he added: “We must build on this important achievement to preserve the non-proliferation regime which is a cornerstone of our global security.”

Guterres met with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Tuesday to discuss the landmark 2015 deal that calls for curbs on Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief.

The agreement was endorsed in a resolution adopted by the Security Council.

In his meeting with Zarif, Guterres also stressed the importance of political talks to end the wars in Syria and in Yemen, where Iran is involved militarily.

Brian Hook, the lead US negotiator with the three European nations trying to keep Trump in the deal before his self-imposed May 12 deadline, told National Public Radio in Washington that “we’re not there yet, but we’ve made some progress.”

Capping a three-day visit to the United States, France’s Macron told a joint meeting of Congress that the 2015 deal, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, was not perfect but must remain in place until a replacement was forged.

“This agreement may not address all concerns,” Macron said. “But we should not abandon it without having something substantial and more substantial instead. That’s my position.”

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