Europe, China and Russia Respond to Trump Ultimatum

January 16, 2018

On January 12, President Trump waived sanctions on Iran for a third time, as required every 120 days by law under the nuclear deal.  But he only did so "in order to secure our European allies’ agreement to fix the terrible flaws of the Iran nuclear deal,” he said. Trump also warned that he would withdraw from the deal if he thought an agreement was not within reach. The other parties to the nuclear deal — China, Britain, France, Germany, Russia, and the European Union —  have repeatedly supported the 2015 agreement and have urged the United States to uphold its commitments. The following are excerpted remarks by leaders on Trump's ultimatum.


The European Union

The European Union

The EU takes note of today's statement of President of the United States Donald Trump concerning the Iran nuclear deal (JCPOA).

As a first step, we will coordinate with the E3 and the other EU Member States to jointly assess the statement and its implications.

We remain committed to the continued full and effective implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.

― Jan. 12, 2018, in a statement


E.U. High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini

These were intense days, especially because of our work to preserve the nuclear deal with Iran. On Thursday I chaired a meeting in Brussels with the Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif and with the Foreign Ministers of the three European countries that negotiated the deal (Jean-Yves Le Drian for France, Boris Johnson for Britain, and Sigmar Gabriel for Germany).

The deal is working, the International Atomic Energy Agency has certified it nine times already, and it is crucial for the security of Europe and the world. It is positive that yesterday President Donald Trump confirmed that the United States will respect their commitments, extending the waiver on nuclear-related sanctions foreseen by the deal.

― Jan. 13, 2018, in a blog post



Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Lu Kang

“We have taken note of the relevant statement, especially the part about continuing suspending sanctions against Iran in the nuclear area on the part of the United States. We have also heeded that the international community universally support the JCPOA and fully recognize the efforts made by Iran to implement it.

The Chinese side always firmly supports the JCPOA. We believe that the JCPOA is an important outcome of multilateralism and a model of resolving international hot-spot issues through political and diplomatic means. Ensuring the thorough implementation of the JCPOA is of great significance to upholding the peace and stability of the Middle East region and the international non-proliferation regime and serves the fundamental interests of all relevant parties.

As the JCPOA has not come by easily, all relevant parties should cherish it. Under the current circumstances, we hope that all relevant parties can bear the larger picture and long-term interests in mind, properly handle differences and continue implementing the JCPOA in a comprehensive and effective manner with strong political will.

I also would like to stress that China is always opposed to the unilateral sanctions imposed by relevant countries on other countries in accordance with their domestic laws. This position is consistent and clear-cut.”

Jan. 13, 2018, in remarks



Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov

“Recent statements aimed at sabotaging implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action on the Iranian nuclear issue did not contribute to optimism and stability, either.

Regrettably, our American colleagues and their allies still want to operate only on the basis of dictates and ultimatums. They do not want to listen to the views of other centres of world politics, thereby refusing to accept the realities of the emerging multipolar world. The methods to which they resort to contain their competitors are, for the most part, quite dubious and conceived in bad faith, and their range is extensive – from the deployment of a global missile defence system to unilateral sanctions, exterritorial use of their own legislation and, as I have already said, threats to resolve any international issues exclusively in line with their own scenario, without stopping at anything, including the use of crude armed force. As a result, we are witnessing the devaluation of international law, diminishment of the role of international institutions and a growing number of countries placing their bets on an arms buildup which they see in the current situation as essentially the only guarantee for preserving their sovereignty.

In these conditions we did all we could to protect, first and foremost, the national interests of the Russian Federation in our work in the international arena, including the interests of our citizens and Russian businesses that are being more and more often subjected to discrimination. In parallel, we did all we could to defend international law and the international system that are based on the UN Charter. Together with other constructive actors in the international community we upheld the universal values of truth, justice and equitable and mutually respectful cooperation and also tried to prevent the degradation of the international system that is badly out of balance today. We wanted to do everything to halt the descent into chaos and confrontation.”

“We will work to preserve the agreements on the Iranian nuclear programme…”

Jan. 15, 2018, in a statement at a news conference on Russian diplomacy in 2017


Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov

"This could be one of Washington's major foreign political mistakes, one of the major miscalculations of America's policy." 

Jan. 13, 2018, according to RadioFreeEurope



Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian

"Signatories must stand by their word."

"There is a basic principle on which we are very firm, it's the upholding of the (nuclear deal) to the extent it is respected."

“If it [the JCPOA] is respected by Iran -- which is what the IAEA says, and we don't have any reason not to believe it - the signatories must stand by their word."

"Because when an agreement is signed, each signatory must respect it. He (Tillerson) knows it."

—Jan. 23, 2018, according to the Associated Press


The Foreign Ministry 

We have noted the United States President’s statement and his decision to extend the freeze on sanctions against Iran.

We shall consult our European partners.

As the French President recalled on 13 January, France is committed to protecting the Iran nuclear agreement and to the necessary respect by all the parties of their commitments under the agreement.

― Jan. 15, 2018, at a press briefing


The Elysee Palace on President Macron's phone call with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

“The president spoke of the importance of preserving the Iran nuclear deal, and the necessity for all parties to the agreement to respect the commitments they made.”

Jan. 13, 2018, in a statement, according to Reuters



The Foreign Office

“We will now consult with our European partners to find a common way forward.”

“The federal government will continue to campaign for the full implementation of the nuclear agreement.”

― Jan. 12, 2018, according to Reuters