A Trump administration effort to reopen negotiations on the landmark Iran nuclear agreement collapsed on Wednesday as key European powers persevered in their effort to rescue the deal from an American walkout, and Iran’s president made clear his government wouldn’t revisit the terms of the pact.
During a closed door meeting Wednesday night foreign ministers from Iran, the European Union and five other big powers, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who was joined by Nikki Haley, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, conceded that Iran was in full compliance with its obligations under the 2015 nuclear pact.
“There is no need to renegotiate parts of the agreement because it is concerning the nuclear program and as such is delivering,” Federica Mogherini, the foreign policy chief for the European Union, told reporters after the meeting. “We all agreed on the fact that there is no violation, that the nuclear program-related aspects, which is all agreement, is being fulfilled.”
“The international community cannot afford dismantling an agreement that is working and delivering,” she added. “We already have one nuclear potential nuclear crisis that means we do not need to go into a second one.”
Mogherini said that there was no reason why the United States couldn’t open talks with the Iranians over differences they have with other countries. She also indicated that European powers would seek to uphold the nuclear pact even in the event of a U.S. withdrawal.
Speaking to reporters at the Millennium Hotel Wednesday afternoon, President Hassan Rouhani warned that the Trump administration’s breach of the nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA, would give Tehran a ‘free hand” to resume its uranium enrichment program.
“This agreement is not something that someone can touch,” Rouhani said in a press conference. “Either the JCPOA will remain as is in its entirety, or it will no longer exist. There will be absolutely no changes, no alteration, nothing done to the current framework of the current JCPOA.”
Rouhani insisted that Iran would not pursue a nuclear weapons program even if the United States decided to withdraw from the agreement. But he warned that Trump’s withdrawal from the pact, which enjoys widespread international support, would only hurt the United States, while “the position of Iran throughout the world will be stronger and better than before.”
The remarks followed a day in which…