LONDON, Aug 12, (Agencies): The United States urged Britain on Sunday to ditch its support for a 2015 nuclear deal with Iran and instead join forces with Washington to counter the global threat it says Tehran poses. Despite opposition from European allies, US President Trump in May pulled the United States out of a deal between world powers and Tehran under which international sanctions were lifted in return for curbs on Iran’s nuclear programme. Since then, Britain, France and Germany have sought to keep the deal alive, while Trump has prepared new sanctions, saying a broader and more balanced deal is needed.
Iran has denounced the sanctions as “US unilateralism”. US Ambassador to Britain Woody Johnson criticised Tehran for funding “proxy wars and malign activities” instead of investing in its economy. He said Iran needed to make tangible and sustained changes to behave like a normal country. “Until then, America is turning up the pressure and we want the UK by our side,” Johnson wrote in the Sunday Telegraph newspaper. “It is time to move on from the fl awed 2015 deal. We are asking global Britain to use its considerable diplomatic power and influence and join us as we lead a concerted global effort towards a genuinely comprehensive agreement.” Asked about Johnson’s article, the British foreign office pointed to comments from Middle East minister Alistair Burt, who last week ruled out Britain going along with the United States.
Burt said the deal was an important part of regional security and that, with the European Union, the government was trying to protect British companies from the US sanctions when dealing with Iran. Britain remained open to talks with the United States on how to address concerns about Iran.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said last week that Trump’s repudiation of the nuclear deal was illegal and Iran would not yield to Washington’s renewed campaign to strangle Iran’s vital oil exports. But protests have broken out in Iran as its currency has collapsed in value and inflation has soared. The protests have often begun with slogans against the high cost of living and alleged financial corruption, but quickly turned into antigovernment rallies.
PM cancels visit Iraqi Prime Minister
Haider al-Abadi has cancelled a visit to Iran, his press office said Sunday, as the premier came under strong Iranian criticism over his stand on renewed US sanctions against Tehran. Abadi will still go ahead with a planned visit to Turkey on Tuesday but has scrapped the Iran leg of the trip “because of his busy schedule”, his office said. An Iraqi official had said Saturday that Abadi would visit both neighbouring Turkey and Iran to discuss economic issues. According to Iraqi political sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, Iran initially agreed to the visit but changed its mind because it was unhappy about Abadi’s remarks. The premier said last Tuesday that Iraq — which relies on neighbouring Iran as a source of cheap imports — would reluctantly comply with US sanctions against Tehran that took effect the same day. “We don’t support the sanctions because they are a strategic error, but we will comply with them,” said Abadi, whose country is an ally of both Tehran and Washington. “In general, sanctions are unjust.”