European officials frustrated over faltering Iran nuke pact

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STOCKHOLM (AP) — The foreign ministers of Germany and Sweden expressed frustration Tuesday over the possible demise of the Iran nuclear deal, warning Tehran that withdrawing would bring "international isolation" and criticizing the United States for jeopardizing a decade of diplomatic efforts.

Speaking at a nuclear disarmament meeting in Stockholm, Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom said Washington's abandonment of the 2015 accord had been "very counterproductive" — threatening not just the Iran deal but the credibility of world powers in negotiating with North Korea.

The European Union and some countries in Europe have been working to salvage the agreement intended to curb Iran's ability to develop nuclear weapons since U.S. President Donald Trump withdrew from it last year and reinstated sanctions against Iran.

Tehran has threatened to also walk away from the deal on July 7 and resume enriching uranium closer to weapons-grade level unless the remaining signatories — China, Russia, France, Germany and Britain — find a way to neutralize the effect of U.S. sanctions.

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, who was in Iran last week for talks on the country's nuclear program, warned that the deal's collapse served the interests of neither Europe nor Iran.

Without the accord, "one can no longer assume with certainty that Iran won't resume developing a nuclear weapon," Maas said.

"If Iran were to withdraw from this agreement, it would go into international isolation; it would be back where it was before the agreement, including all the sanctions," he added. "That cannot be in Iran's interest."

Maas and Wallstrom spoke after a one-day meeting on nuclear weapons ahead of the 50th anniversary next year of the history nuclear weapons treaty that took effect in 1970.

It gathered representatives from Argentina, Canada, Finland, Ethiopia, Germany, Indonesia, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Netherlands, Norway, New Zealand, Republic of Korea, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.


Jan M. Olsen in Copenhagen, Denmark, and Geir Moulson in Berlin, Germany contributed to this report.

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