US withdrawal from Iran nuke deal ‘worrying’

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    The U.S.’ decision to pull out of the landmark Iran nuclear deal is cause for concern, a top Turkish presidential aide said on Wednesday.

    “The unilateral withdrawal of the U.S. from [the Iran nuclear] deal is worrying,” Ibrahim Kalin told reporters in the capital Ankara.

    Criticizing the decision, Kalin said it would harm the U.S.’ international standing.

    “Unilateral withdrawal from a deal which was signed after long negotiations, diplomatic initiatives damages the U.S.'s trustworthiness,” Kalin said.

    Kalin also said Turkey’s top priority is complete denuclearization in the region.

    “We don’t want any country in the region to have nuclear weapons. Our priority is to completely denuclearize the region, regardless of the possessors of the weapons,” he said.

    Defying the U.S.’ closest European allies and most of the American political establishment, Trump on Tuesday pulled the U.S. out of the landmark nuclear deal that world powers struck in 2015 with Iran.

    The 2015 pact placed unprecedented restrictions on Iran's nuclear program in exchange for billions of dollars in relief from international sanctions, but Trump has long railed against it, repeatedly calling it the "worst deal" he has ever seen.

    All of the U.S.' negotiating partners — the UK, France, Germany, Russia, China and the EU — agree that maintaining the accord is the best way to reign in Iran's nuclear program.

    'Far-right groups fueling hate crimes '

    Turning to a French manifesto calling for the removal of some verses of the Quran, Kalin said: “Instead of occupying themselves with the Quran, Europeans need to stem the rise of far-right groups.”

    On April 21, 300 prominent French figures, including former President Nicolas Sarkozy and former Prime Minister Manuel Valls, signed an open manifesto demanding that some parts of the Quran, which they claimed contain violence and anti-Semitic references, be removed.

    The proposal drew strong criticism from Turkish political figures, including the president and prime minister.

    Kalin said it is European far-right groups, not Islam, which are fueling rising anti-Semitism and hate crimes in the region.

    Citing a German Interior Ministry report released Tuesday, he said Germany has seen a serious rise in the number of hate crimes against Islam.

    Far-right extremists or groups carried out some 994 attacks against Muslims and mosques, or 92.5 percent of all Islamophobic crimes, the ministry said.

    ‘Scandalous’ asylum grant by Greece

    On Greece this week accepting the asylum petition of a suspected participant in the July 2016 defeated coup in Turkey, Kalin blasted the decision as a “scandal” and “grave situation”.

    “It is a scandal in terms of the law. It is a development that will affect our relations negatively,” Kalin said.

    On Tuesday, the Greek Asylum Commission accepted the petition of former Maj. Ahmet Guzel, an ex-soldier suspected of involvement in the July 2016 defeated coup.

    Guzel is one of eight former Turkish soldiers who fled to Greece a day after the defeated coup. They are accused by Turkish authorities of involvement in the defeated coup and being members of the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO).

    FETO and its U.S.-based leader Gulen orchestrated the defeated coup on July 15, 2016, which left 250 people martyred and nearly 2,200 injured.

    The ex-soldiers are currently being held in custody by Greek authorities. The case has been a bone of contention between the two countries.

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