Merkel backs Iran deal

May 16, 2018

BERLIN - Germany’s Angela Merkel on Wednesday defended the Iran nuclear deal following its rejection by Washington, arguing the pact is the best way to tackle concerns about Tehran’s role in Syria and its ballistic missile program.

In a wide-ranging policy speech to the Bundestag lower house of parliament, the chancellor of 12-1/2 years addressed a range of individual issues from euro zone reform to digitalization and defense, without laying out a cohesive strategic vision.

A multilateral approach, including towards Iran, is the only option, said Merkel, who with other European powers is struggling to keep alive the nuclear deal without the United States.

Merkel described the deal as “everything other than ideal”, but argued that international nuclear authorities said Iran was sticking to its commitments.

“This does not mean we are happy about everything Iran is doing, we have to talk about its role in Syria, its ballistic missile program, other issues, but the question is whether you can talk better if you terminate an agreement or if you stay in it,” Merkel told lawmakers.

“We say you can talk better if you remain in it,” she added.

Last week, U.S. President Donald Trump abandoned the 2015 pact between Iran and six world powers which lifted most international sanctions in return for Tehran curbing its nuclear program, under the surveillance of the UN nuclear watchdog.

“Despite all the difficulties that we have these days, the transatlantic relationship is and remains paramount,” Merkel, whose fourth term atop a coalition started in March after her conservatives made big losses in a Sept. vote, told lawmakers.

“But these transatlantic relationships also must be able to deal with differences of opinion.”

(Source: Reuters)

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