Russian President Vladimir Putin is applauded by his French counterpat Emmanuel Macron after delivering a speech during a session of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF), Russia May 25, 2018. © Grigory Dukor / Reuters

The US should honor its international agreements, regardless of who is in the White House, Russian President Vladimir Putin said, taking aim at Donald Trump’s recent decision to pull out of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.

Speaking at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF) on Friday, Putin said that changing international agreements along with the US presidential cycle will lead to mistrust and a breakdown in international norms.

“Every four years, presidential elections take place in the United States, so if international treaties and documents are being signed every three or four years, they’re going to be re-thought. So what will be the time-frame for planning if one follows this particular regime?” Putin asked, observing that allowing such a political cycle to interfere in major international treaties will naturally “lead to an environment wrought with mistrust.”

Putin added: “If we want our actions to be predictable, we need to adhere to the common rules. Any unilateral action leads to a dead-end and is always counterproductive.”

The Russian President also recounted how he had recently met with the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), who told him that Iran was in full compliance with all of its obligations under the 2015 accord. The deal puts tight restrictions on Iran’s nuclear capabilities, in exchange for international sanctions relief.

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“Iran completely stands up to all of the commitments that they took. So what is it we should punish them for? I don’t understand it,” Putin remarked, adding that regional and global security would undoubtedly suffer if the deal is not preserved.

“Is it going to be better for Israel if Iran walks out of this treaty or will [it] be pushed out of this treaty? Then Iran’s nuclear activities won’t be clear to anybody.”

Putin said that while Trump likely scored political points at home for his withdrawal from the Iran deal, the remaining signatories should work towards preserving the agreement.

In his own comments on the Iran deal, French President Emmanuel Macron told the conference that while he enjoyed a strong relationship with Trump, the two leaders still had disagreements.

He said that he thought that Trump’s decision to pull out from the Iran deal was erroneous and likely made “because [the deal] was signed by his predecessor, hence bad by the definition.”

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Donald Trump announced that the US is pulling out of the 2015 landmark Iran nuclear agreement earlier in May, triggering an avalanche of criticism for other signatories and international community.

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