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LONDON: Britain, Germany and France have urged the United States not to take steps that would make life harder for other countries that still wanted to stick to the nuclear deal with Iran.

“We urge the US to ensure that the structures of the JCPOA (deal) can remain intact, and to avoid taking action which obstructs its full implementation by all other parties to the deal,” the leaders of Britain, Germany and France said in a joint statement provided by Prime Minister Theresa May’s office.

May spoke by telephone with France’s President Emmanuel Macron and Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel after Trump made his statement.

In Rome, the European Union’s diplomatic chief said the bloc was “determined to preserve” the deal despite the US withdrawal, pledging to “stay true” if Tehran stuck to its commitments.

The 2015 accord “is delivering on its goal which is guaranteeing that Iran doesn’t develop nuclear weapons, the European Union is determined to preserve it,” Federica Mogherini said at a hastily-arranged press conference.

Mogherini made a direct appeal to the Iranian people and their leaders to stick with the accord even after the US withdrawal.

“Stay true to your commitments as we will stay true to ours and together with the rest of the international community we will preserve this nuclear deal,” Mogherini said.

She warned she was “particularly worried” by Tru­mp’s announcement of new sanctions on Iran, saying the EU would act to defend its economic interests.

European powers Britain, France and Germany led a campaign to persuade Trump to stick with the deal negotiated by his predecessor Barack Obama, arguing that it was the most effective way of stopping Iran developing nuclear weapons.

A German foreign ministry source said it was important to keep talks going in coming days to avoid “uncontrolled escalation”.

Published in Dawn, May 9th, 2018