Iran nuclear deal: UK won’t walk away, says Boris Johnson

Britain has “no intention of walking away” from the Iran nuclear deal despite the United States pulling out, Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson says. Mr Johnson told MPs the UK would “strive to preserve the gains” made by the international agreement.

The 2015 deal curbed Iran’s nuclear activities in return for the lifting of UN, US and EU sanctions. US President Donald Trump announced on Tuesday he will pull out, describing it as “defective at its core”. Labour accused the president of a “reckless, senseless and immoral act of diplomatic sabotage”.

Other signatories to the agreement – the UK, France, China, Russia and Germany – say they remain committed to it.
Iran has said it will try to salvage the agreement, but would restart uranium enrichment if it could not.

Mr Johnson – who had travelled to the United States in a last-minute attempt to persuade the Trump administration not to ditch the deal – told MPs the responsibility was now on the president to set out how he plans to secure a new settlement.

Britain stands ready to support that task, but in the meantime we will strive to preserve the gains made by the agreement

he added.

The foreign secretary said while the UK shared US concerns about Iran, the “painfully negotiated” agreement was effective and had increased the amount of time it would take Tehran to develop nuclear weapons.  A watchdog has reported nine times that Iran had complied with the terms of the agreement, he added.  Mr Johnson also said the government would do its utmost to protect UK commercial interests in Iran from US sanctions.