March 20, 2017 / 2:17 PM / 7 months ago

EU foreign policy chief concerned over proposed cuts in U.S. aid

European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini addresses a joint news conference with Libya's Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj (unseen) at the EU Commission headquarters in Brussels, Belgium February 2, 2017. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - European Foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini expressed concern on Monday over the Trump administration’s proposed deep cut in U.S. foreign assistance, saying it would destabilize major parts of the world and hurt American national security.

“Investing in America means investing in places that are far away,” Mogherini said during an international conference on nuclear policy in Washington.

Trump has proposed a 28 percent reduction in the State Department’s budget, which would translate into steep cuts in U.S. funds for foreign aid and the United Nations.

Mogherini also strongly defended the Iran nuclear deal, pointing out that the U.N. nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency, has five times confirmed Iran’s compliance with the 2015 agreement designed to stop it from developing nuclear weapons.

“There is no alternative” to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear arsenal, she said, adding that she believed Tehran was committed to adhering to the deal.

U.S. President Donald Trump has harshly criticized the agreement, which was negotiated between Iran, the United States, Russia, China, Britain, France and the European Union. The deal lifted international sanctions on Iran in return for Tehran accepting restrictions on its nuclear program.

Mogherini ruled out the possibility of renegotiating the agreement. Some U.S. critics have said the pact does not do enough to prevent Iran from gaining further nuclear technology.

Reporting by Jonathan Landay; Editing by Bernadette Baum and Jonathan Oatis

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