Middle East

Iran warns North Korea: Trump could cancel deal before getting home

North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un shakes hands with US President Donald Trump on 12 June 2018 (AFP)

Iran warned North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on Tuesday against trusting US President Donald Trump, saying he could cancel their denuclearisation agreement within hours.

Tehran cited its own experience in offering the advice to Kim a month after Washington withdrew from a similar deal with Iran.

Trump and Kim pledged at a meeting in Singapore on Tuesday to work towards complete denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula while Washington committed to provide security guarantees for its old enemy.

"We don't know what type of person the North Korean leader is negotiating with. It is not clear that he would not cancel the agreement before returning home," Iranian government spokesman Mohammad Bagher Nobakht was quoted as saying by IRNA new agency.

Nobakht questioned Trump's credibility. "This man does not represent the American people, and they will surely distance themselves from him at the next elections," he said.

As well as pulling the United States out of the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran, Trump disowned on Saturday a joint communique issued by Group of Seven leaders, just hours after he had left their summit for the meeting with Kim.

pic.twitter.com/tJG3KIn2q0

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 12, 2018

Israel, which has hailed Trump's tough line on Iran, praised his summit with Kim. "This is an important step in the effort to strip the Korean peninsula of nuclear weaponry," Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a statement.

"President Trump is also taking a firm stance against Iran's attempt to obtain nuclear weaponry, as well as its belligerence in the Middle East."

Israel is believed to have the region's sole atomic arsenal.

Trump had filled his administration with hardliners who wanted Washington to withdraw from the deal with Iran.

Some of those hawks, however, have been just as hostile towards North Korea.

Trump's National Security Adviser John Bolton, who was present at the summit on Tuesday, had called for the "Libya model" when negotiating denuclearisation with North Korea.

After agreeing Washington and its European allies to give up weapons of mass destruction in 2003, Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi was overthrown and killed by a NATO-backed uprising eight years later.

Comments against North Korean leaders have prompted the country's state media to call Bolton a "human scum and a blood sucker" in 2003.

Even Trump himself had strongly denounced Kim and North Korea, threatening the country last year with "fire and fury like the world has never seen" if it continues to expand its nuclear programme.

Critics of the White House noted that the joint statement released on Wednesday about the denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula is far less comprehensive than the Iran deal that Trump scrapped.

It amazes me that the same people who trashed the Iran deal—a deal literally written with countless verification & compliance measures because the West assumed Iran would try to violate it—are now celebrating North Korea's vague, non-binding "pledge" that recycles 1990s language.

— Brian Klaas (@brianklaas) June 12, 2018

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani warned world powers on Tuesday that it was impossible for Tehran to stay in the nuclear deal if it cannot benefit from the accord after the US withdrawal.

European leaders have strongly condemned Washington's decision to pull out of the accord, which saw Tehran significantly scale back its nuclear programme in exchange for lifting economic sanctions.

But it remains unclear if Europe can shield its companies from US sanctions against the Islamic Republic.

In a call with French President Emmanuel Macron, Rouhani said he was satisfied with Europe's stance, especially French efforts to salvage the 2015 deal, but that "such statements should be combined with actions and tangible measures".

"If Iran cannot benefit from the (nuclear) deal, then it's practically impossible to stay in the accord,” Rouhani was quoted by state news agency IRNA as saying in a phone call with the French president.

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