German FM defends Iran nuclear deal

Source: Xinhua| 2017-09-22 07:22:56|Editor: Xiang Bo
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UNITED NATIONS, Sept. 21 (Xinhua) -- German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel on Thursday stressed the importance of preserving the international agreement on Iran's nuclear program, warning that its crumble would have spillover effects on non-proliferation and disarmament.

"It is more important than ever that the international architecture for arms control and disarmament does not crumble. Existing treaties and agreements must not be called into question. That applies in particular to Iran's nuclear agreement," Gabriel told the UN General Assembly.

The July 2015 agreement between Iran and the six world powers is not only about Iran, but also about the credibility of the international community, said Gabriel.

"Which state would refrain from developing its own nuclear program if it turns out that negotiated agreements do not endure, and confidence in agreements with the international community is not worth the paper they are written on?" he asked.

"How are we going to convince countries like North Korea that international agreements provide them security, and in so doing make them commit to further disarmament efforts, if the only international example for such an endeavor being successful -- the agreement with Iran -- no longer has effect?"

Germany will work within the framework of what he called "E3+3" -- the three European countries of Britain, France, Germany, plus China, Russia and the United States -- to ensure that the Iran nuclear deal is strictly implemented and upheld, he said.

"The agreement is a way out of an impasse of nuclear confrontation which would jeopardize regional security and have an impact far beyond the region," said Gabriel.

His speech is in contrast with U.S. President Donald Trump's speech to the General Assembly on Tuesday, in which he berated Iran and threatened to withdraw from the international agreement.

Trump also called the Iran nuclear deal, reached during former U.S. President Barack Obama's administration in 2015, "an embarrassment" for the United States.

In an obvious response to Trump's "America First" mantra, Gabriel said the world needs more cooperation, less "national egoism."

"The motto of 'our country first' not only leads to more national confrontation and less prosperity, in the end there are only losers," Gabriel said.

"We have learned (from the history of the two world wars) that it was not 'Germany first' that made our country strong and prosperous, rather it was 'European and international responsibility first' that gave us Germans peace and prosperity."

Gabriel called for the strengthening of the capacities of the United Nations. The world body needs more resources and at the same time needs transparency on how the money is spent, he said.

He pledged his country's support for the United Nations and said Germany is seeking a seat on the UN Security Council from 2019 to 2020.

On the situation on the Korean Peninsula, he said, "We have to make use of all our diplomatic means to defuse tension before finding a point of departure for a long-term solution."

The nuclear issue, if unresolved, will create a more dangerous world "as other countries may follow the example of North Korea," he said. "Therefore North Korea acquiring nuclear weapons is neither a bilateral, nor a regional problem. Rather, it is a global challenge."

"It cannot be that striving to build a nuclear arsenal leads to success on the international stage," he said. "We have to send a clear message that the international community will not accept North Korea's nuclear provocations."

Germany welcomes the sanctions adopted by the UN Security Council and is calling for their swift implementation at European level, he said, adding that the European Union has intentions to impose its own sanctions.