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Ahead of looming deadline, Merkel defends Iran deal

Photo by Michele Tantussi/Getty Images

German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Sunday defended the international Iran nuclear deal in an interview with Israeli TV, saying that while she understands Israel’s “great worries,” a partial framework is better than no agreement at all, AP reports.

Why it matters: Her defense comes ahead of a May 12 deadline, which President Trump set to withdraw from the agreement unless the deal's other major European signatories — Germany, France, and the United Kingdom — agree to enact "significant changes.”

What they're saying: Merkel reportedly told Israel TV’s Channel 10 that Germany will monitor developments "very closely to ensure that this agreement will be fulfilled.”

  • Iran's foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif told reporters that Trump's threats to pull out of the Iran nuclear agreement were sending a "very dangerous message" to other countries negotiating with U.S. Zarif said that, should the U.S. withdraw from the deal, the ultimate consequences "won't be very pleasant to the United States."
  • French President Emmanuel Macron, who will arrive in Washington this week for the first official state visit hosted by Trump, told Chris Wallace on "Fox News Sunday”: "I don't have any plan B for nuclear against Iran, so that's the question we will discuss."

The backstory: Under the Obama-era deal, which Trump has repeatedly blasted as flawed, Iran had agreed to put limits on parts of its nuclear program in exchange for relief from economic sanctions.