Merkel defends Iran deal; Pence blasts Europe

MUNICH (AP) – German Chancellor Angela Merkel has drawn lengthy applause for her spirited defense of a multilateral approach to global affairs and her support for Europe’s decision to stand by a nuclear deal with Iran.

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence was not impressed, however, and he doubled down on American criticism of Europe.

Merkel’s comments Saturday at the Munich Security Conference, an annual gathering of world leaders and top defense and foreign policy officials, followed days of acrimony between the U.S. and Europe over Iran.

Merkel told the group that she shared American concerns about Iranian efforts to increase its power. But she defended the nuclear deal as an important channel to Tehran, stressing the need for international diplomacy.

Germany, Britain, France, China, Russia and the European Union have been trying to keep the 2015 deal with Iran alive since U.S. President Donald Trump unilaterally pulled out of it last year.

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