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Japan backs Iran nuclear deal amid US opposition

Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif (L) and his Japanese counterpart Taro Kono

Japan has become the latest country to announce its support for a landmark nuclear agreement reached between Iran and six other countries in 2015, amid almost singular opposition by the United States administration.

The US, under President Donald Trump, has sought to undermine the deal by calling for renegotiation and threatening to unilaterally withdraw from it.

The foreign minister of the Asian economic powerhouse called his Iranian counterpart on Monday to say that Japan supported the deal, according to NHK, Japan’s national public broadcasting organization.

Foreign Minister Taro Kono of Japan also told Iran’s Mohammad Javad Zarif that it was important for Iran to play a constructive role in regional stability.

Zarif, for his part, appreciated Japan’s stance on the nuclear accord and reiterated that Iran had been committed to the deal and would continue to do so.

The phone conversation came three days after Trump said he would not certify Iran’s compliance with the terms of nuclear accord — officially titled the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) — under a domestic American law. Later, on Monday, Trump further termed the JCPOA “a horrible deal for the United States” and warned that the agreement’s “total termination” was “a very real possibility.”

Ex-French president raps Trump’s ‘double fault’ on JCPOA

Separately on Tuesday, Ex-French president Francois Hollande slammed Trump’s policy toward the Iran deal, saying that the US president’s “unpredictability” threatened global stability.

The photo, taken by South Korea’s Maeil Business Newspaper on October 17, 2017, shows former French president Francois Hollande speaking at the opening ceremony of the World Knowledge Forum in Seoul, South Korea. (Via AFP)

“Donald Trump’s decision not to certify the accord and to demand that Congress strengthen sanctions is, to my eyes, a double fault,” Hollande told a conference in Seoul.

Trump has said his administration is working with the US Congress to “strengthen enforcement” of the deal, including by planning more sanctions against Iran.

Hollande accused Trump of “damaging the credibility of any future negotiations with North Korea” and stressed that the US president’s actions showed a “deep misunderstanding of the negotiation’s purpose.”

Lavrov: US stance aggravates situation

In a relevant development, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Monday warned that Washington’s approach to the Iran deal and North Korea’s nuclear activities worsened the existing problems in the world.

“The loss of mutual trust causes deep concern… Unfortunately, these negative trends have only been exacerbated by the US decision to actually withdraw from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action... and ... Washington’s threats to solve the Korean Peninsula’s problem by military means,” Lavrov said.

“Two years ago, an agreement was reached on the Iranian nuclear program, which was approved by the UN Security Council. The whole world welcomed it. Now Washington is pulling out of the agreement. This is again a problem of deal-making being part of foreign policy values,” he added.

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