UK will not follow Trump in ditching Iran deal, Boris Johnson vows

Introduction – May 9, 2018

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei

Britain and other European countries say they want to stay with the Iran nuclear deal. However, that may not be enough to save it as Trump’s action could have undermined Iran’s confidence in reaching any further deals with the West.
Following the announcement that the U.S. would withdraw from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the Ayatollah Khamenei revealed how Trump’s action had damaged Iran’s faith in dealing with the West.
I don’t trust these three EU countries either, he said in reference to the European signatories of the JCPOA: France, Germany and Britain. In a speech to an audience of teachers at Iran’s education ministry following Trump’s announcement, Khamenei said that without a firm and binding agreement the European signatories of the JCPOA could pull out as easily as Trump.

UK will not follow Trump in ditching Iran deal, Boris Johnson vows

Patrick Wintour – The Guardian May 9, 2018

Britain’s foreign secretary, Boris Johnson, has vowed the UK will not walk away from the Iran nuclear deal, and said it was now Donald Trump’s responsibility to come up with detailed proposals for a better way to constrain Iran’s nuclear programme.

Johnson had travelled to Washington last week to urge the Trump administration to stick with the landmark 2015 deal, which curbed Iran’s nuclear programme in exchange for easing international economic sanctions.

Trump announced on Tuesday that the US would “exit the Iran deal”. He said he intended to punish countries that continued to trade with Iran and reimpose a vast array of sanctions that will start to bite over the next 180 days.

Speaking on Wednesday, Johnson said the UK would do its utmost to protect British firms from any extraterritorial sanctions imposed by the US. He said he would come up with specific proposals in due course after consultations with his European partners, but insisted the dispute with the US would not affect wider Anglo-American relations.

In a bid to reassure MPs, he said he had questioned senior figures in the US state department and the White House last week, and came away assured there was no enthusiasm in the US for a military option to be deployed against Iran.

Johnson said he regretted the US decision to exit the deal, also known as the joint comprehensive plan of action (JCPOA). He said the UK had done its utmost to keep America in the deal, adding the US decision made no change to the British assessment that the agreement was vital for British national security and the stability of the Middle East.

The UN nuclear watchdog confirmed on Wednesday that Iran was implementing “nuclear-related commitments” under its deal with world powers.

Iran has relinquished 95% of its low-enriched uranium, placed two-thirds of its centrifuges in storage, removed the core of its heavy water reactor, thus closing off the plutonium route to the development of a bomb. It has allowed the International Atomic Energy Agency to mount the most and rigorous intrusive regime ever devised, “an obligation on Iran that lasts until 2040”.

Johnson said Britain had no intention of walking away, adding instead that it was vital that the Iranian people continued to enjoy the economic benefits of the deal. He said, “the responsibility now falls on Washington to explain how they will find a negotiated solution” to Iran’s nuclear ambitions.

In the past, Johnson has repeatedly found himself trying to justify to Labour opposition his decision to work alongside Trump over issues such as climate change. But on Wednesday the shadow foreign secretary, Emily Thornberry, made only a passing reference to Johnson’s perceived lack of influence, instead concentrating her rhetorical fire on Trump’s decision to quit the deal.

Thornberry said the president had “risked triggering a nuclear arms race” in the Middle East as she attacked his “reckless, senseless and immoral act of diplomatic sabotage”.

She told MPs the president had taken the decision without the “slightest justification and without the simplest rational thought” as to what would happen next. By scuppering the deal, she said he had handed power back to the hard-line theocrats in Tehran.

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