WASHINGTON - More than 500 British, French and German lawmakers wrote to their U.S. counterparts Thursday, urging them to support the international pact restraining Iran’s nuclear weapons development and to keep President Donald Trump from abandoning it.
Trump has demanded that “dangerous flaws” be fixed in the 2015 deal and has set a May 12 deadline to decide whether to pull the United States out of the agreement. Tehran agreed to the pact with the United States, Britain, Germany, France, Russia and China in exchange for ending economic sanctions that had hobbled its economy.
Trump has called the agreement crafted under the administration of former President Barack Obama “the worst deal ever negotiated.” Trump contends Iran would quickly achieve nuclear capability at the end of the 10-year agreement and often assails its current military adventures in Syria, Yemen, and Lebanon.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macon are separately headed to Washington next week for talks with Trump, in part to urge him to not abrogate the Iran pact and instead impose new sanctions on Tehran.
The British, French and German lawmakers wrote to members of Congress and published their appeal for saving the Iran pact in major newspapers.
The European parliamentarians called the Iran deal “the crowning achievement of 12 years of intense diplomatic negotiations” and “a safeguard against a nuclear Middle East.”
They said a U.S. withdrawal from the deal would put the agreement at risk and “might also prompt the Iranians to leave the pact, starting a nuclear race in the region.”
The lawmakers condemned Iran’s “contribution to the war in Syria and its backing of the murderous government of President Bashar al-Assad” and military intervention in Lebanon and Yemen.
But the Europeans concluded that “by taking the threat that Iran would develop a nuclear weapon off the table, the pact has effectively limited that country’s means to carry out its destabilizing activities.”
“We are pleading to the men and women of Congress to play their part in keeping the nuclear deal alive,” they said. The lawmakers said they hoped “to show the international community Europe's democracies will rise in solidarity on critical international problems,” but warned there would be “disastrous consequences” with an American withdrawal.