U.S. Claims to Have International Support Against Iran Nuclear Deal, It Does Not

The United States has issued statements suggesting it claimed international support in effort isolate Iran, despite the other signatories of a 2015 nuclear deal calling on Washington to return to the agreement it abandoned last year.

In a message appearing on the State Department's Arabic-language communications account, the U.S. claimed Monday that "the international community denounced the Iranian regime's decision to enrich uranium to a level beyond any need for peaceful purposes, supporting U.S. warnings that this step will isolate the illegal regime in Iran." The message was accompanied by a map showing responses to Iran's recent move by several countries including China, Germany, Japan and the United Kingdom.

"China regrets Iran's decision to further scale back its commitments," the graphic read in what appeared to be a reference to Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang's response last Monday at a press conference to Iran enriching uranium past the 2015 deal's 3.67 percent limit.

While this part of the quote was accurate, the State Department omitted the fact that that Geng argued for "the full and effective implementation" of the nuclear deal, which the U.S. unilaterally left last year. The Chinese diplomat said last week: "I'd like to emphasize that the 'maximum pressure' exerted by the U.S. is the root cause of the recent crisis. The U.S. not only withdrew from the agreement but also set more and more obstacles for Iran and other parties through unilateral sanctions and long-arm jurisdiction."

iran nuclear deal europe
Abbas Araghchi (C-R), political deputy at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Iran, and Helga Schmid (C-L), Secretary General of the European Union's External Action Service (EEAS), take part in a meeting of the Joint Commission of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action attended by the E3 2 (China, France, Germany, Russia, United Kingdom) and Iran, June 28 at the Palais Coburg in Vienna, Austria. These countries have fought to salvage the Iran nuclear in the U.S.' absence. ALEX HALADA/AFP/Getty Images

On Tuesday, Geng gave a near-identical response when asked Monday about the ongoing nuclear crisis, further calling on the U.S. to "abandon its wrong course, respect the legitimate rights and interests of other parties, stop obstructing the implementation" of the deal and "work towards the political and diplomatic solution of this issue."

The remarks came the same day as a ministerial meeting of the EU Foreign Affairs Council that touched upon Iran's increased uranium enrichment, which itself came in response to mounting U.S. sanctions threatening any country trying to trade with the Islamic Republic. The EU criticized Iran's move but, deemed it "reversible" and not a "significant" case of non-compliance that would warrant triggering a dispute resolution mechanism.

EU Foreign Affairs High Representative Federica Mogherini also said parties planned on empowering a special trade vehicle designed to bypass U.S. sanctions "to have Iran fully compliant with its nuclear commitments, as it has been since the beginning until a few weeks ago." She called the U.S., the EU's "best partner and ally" but argued that it was up to the group to "try to mitigate the impact of the United States' decision to re-impose sanctions" and "and to compensate for these decisions as far as we can in the market system we are living in."

The State Department on Monday quoted EU members the United Kingdom as saying that "Iran must immediately stop" and Germany as saying "we strong urge Iran to stop" in reference to statements made by their respective foreign offices last week.

These two countries, alongside France, again said they were "concerned" by Iran's move in a joint statement issued Sunday, but warned that the deal also "further unravels under the strain of sanctions imposed by the United States" ⁠— something to which they too responded with "regret and concern."

شجب المجتمع الدولي قرار #النظام_الإيراني بتخصيب اليورانيوم إلى مستوى يتجاوز أي احتياج للأغراض السلمية، مؤيدًا في ذلك تحذيرات #الولايات_المتحدة من أن هذه الخطوة ستعزل النظام الخارج عن القانون في #إيران.
@ShareAmerica_Ar pic.twitter.com/3nCvXpmIMJ

— فريق التواصل DOS (@DOTArabic) July 15, 2019

The State Department's tweet Monday also cited Japanese Press Secretary Takeshi Osuga's remarks last week that his country was "strongly concerned" by Iran's decision, though it left out him emphasizing Tokyo's "support" for the agreement, "which contributes to strengthening the international non-proliferation regime and thereby to the stability of the Middle East."

President Donald Trump has dismissed the agreement for what he felt was not curbing Iran's alleged support for militant groups or its ballistic missile development.

Among the countries mentioned in Monday's tweet, the only one to support Trump's exit was Israel. The State Department cited Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's claim last week that "the enrichment of uranium is made for one reason...the creation of atomic bombs." Though Israel has deliberately neither confirmed nor denied it, the U.S. ally itself was widely believed to possess a nuclear weapons program not subject to inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency, which has been given access to Iranian nuclear sites as part of the agreement.

The Israeli leader weighed in again Monday after the EU opted not to trigger the dispute resolution mechanism that would officially charge Iran with breaching the agreement. Netanyahu said it "reminds me of the European appeasement of the 1930s" in reference to countries who at the time made concessions to Nazi Germany in order to prevent a conflict⁠.