Best to talk to Iran and stay in nuclear deal, says German Chancellor Angela Merkel
Best to talk to Iran and stay in nuclear deal, says German Chancellor Angela Merkel

The best way to address international concern about Iran's role in the region and its ballistic missile programme is within the framework of the nuclear deal with Tehran even after Washington has withdrawn from it, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said.

"The question is whether you can talk better if you terminate an agreement or if you stay in it ... we say you can talk better if you remain in it," Merkel told lawmakers in the Bundestag lower house of parliament on Wednesday.

US withdrew from the crucial Iran nuclear deal last week. US President Donald Trump on last Tuesday had announced withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal, invoking criticism from even his closest allies such as France, Germany and the United Kingdom. So far, Israel and Saudi Arabia are the only countries who have welcomed the move.

Describing the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPoA) as a bad deal, Trump had said that the nuclear deal is unlikely to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. Signed by the Obama administration in 2015 under which Tehran had agreed to significantly cut its stocks of centrifuges, enriched uranium and heavy-water, and all key components required to develop nuclear weapons. "India has always maintained that the Iranian nuclear issue should be resolved peacefully through dialogue and diplomacy by respecting Iran's right to peaceful uses of nuclear energy as also the international community's strong interest in the exclusively peaceful nature of Iran's nuclear programme," Kumar said.

Iran had struck the JCPoA deal with the US, the UK, Russia, China, France, and Germany after years of negotiations. Kumar said all parties should engage constructively to address and resolve issues that have arisen with respect to the JCPoA.

Trump's decisions on Russia and now on Iran has put India on horns of dilemma. While Russia is India's biggest supplier of military hardware, Iran is the third largest supplier of energy. Both are crucial to India's defence and energy security. Also, India has invested heavily in developing the Chabahar Port in Iran as means to by-pass Pakistan to reach to the land-locked Afghanistan.

India was earlier forced to withdraw from a tri-nation - India, Pakistan and Iran - gas pipeline project. In 2005, when India voted against Iran at the international atomic energy agency (IAEA), Iran had retaliated by cancelling a deal for selling liquefied natural gas or LNG.