Boris Johnson praised by Donald Trump after attacking 'bad' Iran nuclear deal

Posted On: 
24th September 2019

Donald Trump has heaped praise on Boris Johnson after the Prime Minister said Barack Obama had struck a "bad deal" with Iran over its nuclear ambitions.

The move by Mr Johnson marks a significant shift from current UK foreign policy.

The American commander-in-chief described the Tory leader as a “winner”, as Mr Johnson appeared to break from the UK’s longstanding public support for a deal which President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew from in 2018.

Speaking to the NBC network, Mr Johnson said the existing agreement with Iran - signed off by former president Obama and known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPoA) - represented a “bad deal”.

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And he added: “I think there’s one guy who can do a better deal, and one guy who understands how to get a difficult partner like Iran over the line, and that is the president of the United States.

“So I hope that there will be a Trump deal, to be totally honest with you.”

The remarks earned swift backing from the US president, who told reporters at the White House: “That's why he's a winner. That's why he's a man who’s going to be successful in the UK.”

President Trump said: “Boris is a man, who…number one, he’s a friend of mine, number two, he’s very smart, very tough….

“I respect Boris a lot and I’m not at all surprised that he was the first one to come out and say that.”

Mr Johnson’s NBC interview comes after he pinned the blame for a missile strike on Saudi Arabian oil facilities squarely on Tehran.

A joint statement issued by Mr Johnson as well as French President Emannuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Macron condemned that attack in the "strongest terms".

"It is clear to us that Iran bears responsibility for this attack. There is no other plausible explanation. We support ongoing investigations to establish further details."

And the three leaders said that while they had a "continued commitment to the JCPoA" agreed with Iran in 2015, they urged Tehran "once again to reverse its decisions to reduce compliance with the deal and to adhere fully to its commitments under it".

The US - which has already confirmed it will send troops to the region - has disputed claims of responsibility for the attack by Houthi rebels in Yemen, while Saudi Arabia has presented pieces of weaponry which it claims ties Iran to the incident.

The Prime Minister’s comments come ahead of bilateral meetings with both President Trump and Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani, which are slated to take place on the sidelines of the United Nations general assembly in New York on Tuesday.

Downing Street said Mr Johnson would also press the US commander-in-chief on Britain's hopes for a free-trade deal with America after Brexit.

The Prime Minister told reporters ahead of the bilateral meeting that he would warn President Trump the National Health Service will not be opened up to US companies in any post-Brexit trade tie-up.

He said he would tell President Trump “that when we do a free trade deal, we must make sure that the NHS is not on the table, that we do not in any way prejudice or jeopardise our standards on animal welfare and food hygiene in the course of that deal, and that we open up American markets."