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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 17 December 2018

Britain's May urges Trump not to end Iran nuclear pact

Foreign secretary Boris Johnson has also stepped up diplomatic efforts to save the landmark agreement

British Prime Minister Theresa May and US President Donald Trump spoke on the phone on Tuesday night to discuss Iran. AP Photo/Evan Vucci
British Prime Minister Theresa May and US President Donald Trump spoke on the phone on Tuesday night to discuss Iran. AP Photo/Evan Vucci

Theresa May has urged Donald Trump not to unravel the Iran nuclear deal, saying it is “vitally important for regional security”.

In a phone call between the two leaders on Tuesday night, ahead of a crunch speech by the US President on his Iran strategy later this week, Britain’s Prime Minister insisted that the UK remains strongly committed to the deal.

Mr Trump is widely expected to “decertify” the landmark international deal to curb Iran's nuclear program, having criticised it as an “embarrassment” and “the worst deal ever negotiated”. It is a step that could lead to renewed US sanctions against Tehran.

The Iran nuclear pact was a signature foreign policy achievement of his Democratic predecessor Barack Obama, and signed in 2015 by the US, Britain, France, Germany, Russia, China, the European Union and Iran.

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Read more:

Trump to ‘decertify’ Iran nuclear deal

After de-certification, fight over Iran nuclear deal goes to US Congress

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If Mr Trump declines to certify Iran's compliance with the accord, US congressional leaders would have 60 days to decide whether to reimpose sanctions on Tehran suspended under the agreement.

A Downing Street spokesman said that Mrs May had "reaffirmed the UK's strong commitment to the deal alongside our European partners, saying it was vitally important for regional security".

"The PM stressed that it was important that the deal was carefully monitored and properly enforced," the spokesman said.

He added that the two leaders had also discussed the need for the UK, US and others to work together to counter destabilising Iranian activity in the region.

Britain’s foreign secretary Boris Johnson has also stepped up diplomatic efforts to save the deal, which he called “a crucial agreement that neutralised Iran’s nuclear threat”.

Mr Johnson called Rex Tilleron and Javad Zarif, his counterparts in the US and Iran respectively, yesterday to underline the continued benefits of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action for all sides.

In a statement, he said: “The UK supports the deal and stresses the importance of all parties continuing to uphold their commitments.”

He added: “We have made no bones about our deep concern at Iran’s destabilising regional activity, including its ballistic missile programme, but I remain steadfast in my view that the nuclear deal was an historic achievement that has undoubtedly made the world a safer place.

“It was the culmination of 13 years of painstaking diplomacy and has increased security, both in the region and in the UK. It is these security implications that we continue to encourage the US to consider.”

On Wednesday, Mr Johnson will meet Iranian Vice President Dr Ali Akhbar Salehi in London to press for Iran’s continued compliance with the JCPoA. Dr Salehi is head of Iran’s nuclear agency and will be in London following his attendance at a nuclear conference in Rome.