In a joint press conference with Donald Trump at the White House, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said the Iran nuclear deal is “not sufficient,” echoing the president’s long-standing belief that the deal is not enough to combat Tehran’s nuclear ambitions.
Meanwhile, the two world leaders touched on a variety of other issues, which will be discussed in this article.
The Iran Deal
As The Times of Israel reports, Merkel is in Washington for only a few hours. In that time, however, she and Trump have covered quite a bit of ground. First and foremost is the Iran nuclear deal, or the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, which was signed by Tehran in 2015, along with signatures from China, France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
Trump has long held that the deal doesn’t go far enough. Merkel also admitted Friday that the deal is a “first step.”
“But we also think from a German perspective that this is not sufficient in order to see to it that Iran’s ambitions are curbed and contained.”
Trump, for his part, is angling for a complete re-write of the deal by May 12. Merkel, however, is likely not interested in going that far, but she is open to adding amendments in order to further weaken Tehran’s nuclear goals.
Another topic on both leaders’ minds is North Korea. The past few weeks have seen more progress in curbing the North’s nuclear ambitions than in previous decades, and Trump is quick to take the credit for that – specifically, he noted that the Un regime “played like a fiddle” previous presidents – something that he won’t brook.
Meeting privately with Merkel before the press conference, Trump said that he would meet with Un personally “in the coming weeks.”
As for military force, Trump didn’t rule it out, but seemed to indicate that it would only be a last resort.
“I don’t talk about whether or not I’d use military force… but I can tell you this, they will not be doing nuclear weapons… you can bank on it.”
Aluminum And Steel Tariffs
One area in which Merkel and Trump apparently don’t see eye-to-eye is the matter of aluminum and steel tariffs. Announced last month, the tariffs were largely intended to limit China’s influence in American markets. To that end, Europe – to include Germany – was granted exemptions. Those exemptions are about to expire, which is an issue of concern for Merkel. Trump, for his part, has not given an indication that he plans to renew or extend those exemptions.