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Donald Trump challenges Boris Johnson to pull UK out of 'foolish' Iran nuclear deal

3 min read

Donald Trump has demanded the UK withdraws from the "foolish" Iranian nuclear deal amid growing tensions in the Middle East.

In a surprise move piling pressure on Boris Johnson, the US president said the agreement - which is aimed at stopping Iran from aquiring a nuclear weapon - was "very defective" and should be scrapped.

His comments, in a White House statement, came just hours after the Prime Minister said the UK still backed the deal.

Speaking after Iranian airstrikes hit two US bases in Iraq in retaliation for the assassination of military chief Qasem Soleimani, President Trump said it was time for the UK, Germany and France to "break away" from the so-called JCPOA arrangement, which came into force under President Barack Obama in 2013.

"Iran's hositility substantially increased after the foolish Iran nuclear deal was signed in 2013 and they were given $150bn, not to mention $1.8bn in cash," President Trump said.

"The missiles fired last night at us and our allies were paid for with the funds made available by the last administration. The regime also greatly tightened the reins in their own country. Even recently killing 1,500 people at the many protests that are taking place all throughout Iran."

He added: "The very defective JCPOA expires shortly anyway, and gives Iran a clear and quick path to nuclear breakout. Iran must abandon its nuclear ambitions and end its support for terrorism.

"The time has come for the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Russia and China to recognise this reality. They must now break away from the remnants of the Iran deal, or JCPOA. And we must all work together toward making a deal with Iran that makes the world a safer and more peaceful place."

Asked about the nuclear deal at Prime Minister's Questions on Wednesday, Mr Johnson said: "It's our view that the JCPOA remains the best way of preventing nuclear proliferation in Iran, the best way of encouraging the Iranians not to develop a nuclear weapon and we think that after this crisis has abated that that way forward will remain.

"It is a shell that is currently being voided, but it remains a shell into which we can put substance again."

His comments came after Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn accused the Prime Minister of being "afraid" to stand up to the controversial US leader over the assasination of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani over concerns it could hurt a future trade deal between the two countries.

But the Prime Minister hit back at the comments, saying Mr Soleimani had the "blood of British troops on his hands" as he defended the US missile strike.

Meanwhile, the Prime Minister's official spokesman revealed Boris Johnson and Donald Trump had spoken by phone on Wednesday lunchtime, saying the pair had "discussed the airstrike on Iraqi base hosting coalition forces" and that

Mr Johnson had "underlined the importance of urgent de-escalation to avoid further conflict and both leaders agreed to stay in touch."  ​

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