Britain Lobbying US to Remain in Iran Nuclear Deal

Britain’s Foreign Secretary is set to lobby the Trump administration to remain a party to the 2015 agreement struck between Iran and world powers to limit Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief.

Boris Johnson is meeting Monday with U.S. Vice President Mike Pence and National Security Adviser John Bolton with Iran as one of the top agenda items, according to Johnson’s office.

“The UK, U.S., and European partners are also united in our effort to tackle the kind of Iranian behavior that makes the Middle East region less secure – its cyber activities, its support for groups like Hezbollah, and its dangerous missile program, which is arming Houthi militias in Yemen,” Johnson said ahead of his visit.

U.S. President Donald Trump has been a frequent critic of what he calls a flawed deal, and has until May 12 to decide whether to renew sanctions waivers linked to the agreement. Trump wants added limitations on Iran’s ballistic missile program and objects to the so-called sunset clauses in the nuclear deal that let certain provisions expire after a certain amount of time.

Britain, China, France, Russia, Germany and the United States negotiated the agreement with Iran amid allegations Iran was working to develop nuclear weapons. Iran repeatedly denied that was the case, and has further asserted that it has every right to its ballistic missile program for defense.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said Sunday that if the United States does withdraw from the nuclear deal, “you will soon see that they will regret it like never before in history.”

He added Monday that Iran could continue the existing agreement with the rest of the signatories, but is also prepared to take its own “path.”

Britain’s Ambassador to the U.S. Kim Darroch said in an interview Sunday with CBS that Johnson and Trump spoke about the nuclear deal in a phone call Saturday and that the president had likely not yet made a final decision.

“It’s not a perfect deal, no deal is ever perfect, and the president is rightly concerned about Iran’s regional activities, which are malign and damaging to security and stability,” Darroch said.

He added that Britain prefers the United States remain part of the agreement, but that as long as Iran remains in compliance, Britain “wants to stick with it.”