‘Trump deal’ needed to replace troubled Iran nuclear agreement, says PM

Donald Trump should produce a replacement for the Iran nuclear deal, Boris Johnson said as the UK, France and Germany accused Tehran of breaching the terms of the agreement.

The European allies, which remain part of the troubled nuclear deal despite the US president’s opposition, said Iran was “not meeting its commitments” and referred the matter to the agreement’s dispute resolution mechanism.

Calling for a US-backed replacement deal, the Prime Minister said one of the problems the American leader had with the agreement was that it was negotiated by his predecessor, Barack Obama.

A new “Trump deal” could be a way out of the current crisis, Mr Johnson suggested.

Under Mr Trump, the US pulled out of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), which eased sanctions in return for Iran agreeing to restrictions on its activity in an effort to ensure Tehran did not acquire a nuclear weapon.

Mr Johnson told BBC Breakfast: “If we are going to get rid of it then we need a replacement.

“The problem with the JCPOA – this is the crucial thing, it’s why there is this tension – the problem with the agreement is that from the American perspective it’s a flawed agreement, it expires, plus it was negotiated by President Obama.

“From their point of view it has many, many faults.

AIR Ukraine
(PA Graphics)

“If we are going to get rid of it, let’s replace it and let’s replace it with the Trump deal. That’s what we need to see.

“I think that would be a great way forward.

“President Trump is a great deal-maker – by his own account and many others.

“Let’s work together to replace the JCPOA and get the Trump deal instead.”

In the latest indication of the problems with the deal, the foreign ministers of the UK, France and Germany, the E3, issued a joint statement confirming they were beginning the dispute resolution process.

But they insisted they were not joining Mr Trump’s policy of “maximum pressure” on Tehran.

The statement from the E3 said they had “no choice” but to act, given Iran’s actions which include ignoring restrictions on enrichment of uranium.

The E3 said: “We do this in good faith with the overarching objective of preserving the JCPOA and in the sincere hope of finding a way forward to resolve the impasse through constructive diplomatic dialogue, while preserving the agreement and remaining within its framework.

“In doing so, our three countries are not joining a campaign to implement maximum pressure against Iran.

“Our hope is to bring Iran back into full compliance with its commitments under the JCPOA.”

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab will update MPs in a Commons statement on Tuesday afternoon.

Meanwhile the Prime Minister said he “did not envisage” any further escalation in the tensions between the US and Iran, adding: “Let’s dial this thing down.”

He said he was “glad” Iran had acknowledged that it made a “terrible mistake” in shooting down the Ukrainian passenger plane last week.

Iran’s judiciary said arrests have been made over the incident, in which 176 people, including four Britons, died.

The Islamic Republic of Iran deeply regrets this disastrous mistake.

My thoughts and prayers go to all the mourning families. I offer my sincerest condolences. https://t.co/4dkePxupzm

— Hassan Rouhani (@HassanRouhani) January 11, 2020

President Hassan Rouhani called for a special court to be set up to handle the process, saying: “This is not an ordinary case.

“The entire world will be watching this court.”

Mr Johnson said: “I’m glad the Iranians have accepted responsibility and identified it as an appalling mistake, and it does appear that it was a mistake.

“It is very important that the bodies are repatriated in a dignified way and that the families are allowed to grieve and to have closure.

“Clearly, as President Rouhani has said, Iran made a terrible mistake.

“It is good they have apologised.

“The most important thing now is that tensions in the region calm down.”

The PM defended his role during the tensions, after facing criticism for not returning from his holiday immediately after the US strike which killed Iranian general Qassem Soleimani.

“I was not in this country but I worked very hard, as you can imagine, in making sure there was a European response,” he said.

The Prime Minister added there was no need for Britain to have been informed by the US before the attack because “this was not our operation”.

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