Merkel: Europe can't rely on U.S. protection anymore

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In a phone call on Thursday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel told Iranian President Hassan Rouhani that she supports maintaining the Iranian nuclear accord despite the withdrawal of the US.

"Iran has always sought to reduce tensions in the region, trying to strengthen security and stability", Rouhani told Merkel in a telephone call, according to a statement on the website of Iran's presidency.

This statement comes a day after Israel attacked multiple Iranian military targets in Syria in response to a failed attempt to fire missiles into Israeli territory.

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The quandary was laid clear earlier Wednesday as Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Tehran would quit the deal unless European signatories offered solid guarantees that trade relations would continue after the U.S. withdrawal. "Let's face it, Europe is still in its infancy with regard to the common foreign policy", Merkel said, but stressed the need for nations to close ranks against common threats. It is her latest retort to Mr Trump, who this week withdrew the USA from a nuclear accord with Iran that European powers say they will uphold.

Europe has to "act together and speak with one voice", she said, as cited by Germany's Die Welt newspaper. "And it will be existentially necessary to make progress here because the nature of conflicts has completely changed since the end of the Cold War".

Responding to Trump's concerns that the 2015 agreement was too narrow, Macron said he wanted to push for a wider deal covering Iran's ballistics program and activities in the Middle East.

Le Maire pointed out that the withdrawal gives European firms doing business in Iran the "very short time of six months" to wind up investments - or risk United States sanctions. "This is our task for the nearest future", - say media, quoting Merkel. "We made the choice to build peace in the Middle East". "Other powers. haven't kept their word", he added, without specifying the powerful countries he was referring to.

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