German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang expressed their commitment to the continuation of the nuclear deal with Iran on Monday, Anadolu has reported. They made the announcement in a joint press conference in Berlin, following extensive consultations with the participation of officials from both countries.
“We support the deal with Iran despite the withdrawal of the United States,” explained Merkel. “We remain committed to the deal, and we believe that it resulted from good negotiations.” She added that there are more things to discuss with Iran, “but we think we must stick to the current agreement.”
The German leader did not elaborate on what she wanted to discuss further with Iran, but she has said at several earlier press conferences that Germany wants to talk with Iran about its missile programme and its role in the Middle East.
With regard to companies that may be exposed to the risks of US economic sanctions because of their businesses in Iran, Merkel clarified that they should make their own decision regarding the continuation of their business there.
According to Li, “There will be unimaginable consequences if the nuclear deal with Iran collapses.” Although he did not elaborate what these might be, he insisted that the agreement must be upheld.
On 8 May, US President Donald Trump announced the US withdrawal from the 2015 agreement, which restricts Iran’s nuclear programme to peaceful uses in return for lifting Western sanctions. Trump also announced the reinstatement of economic sanctions against Tehran and the companies and entities that deal with Iran. However, China, Russia and European countries, led by Germany, France and Britain, refused to withdraw and announced their continued commitment to the agreement.
On a different issue, Merkel pointed out that Germany and China have agreed to continue to stick to the rules of the World Trade Organisation and the principle of multilateralism. “Today we signed 22 agreements on cooperation between the two countries in the fields of government administration and economic cooperation,” she added.
This comes at a time when Beijing is engaged in what it called a “trade war” with Washington, after the new US tariffs on imports from China came into force on Friday 6 July. China responded by imposing immediate tariffs on US goods.