Boris Johnson to meet US counterparts in Washington in bid to save Iran nuclear deal

Posted On: 
6th May 2018

Boris Johnson will make a last-ditch attempt to save the Iran nuclear deal during a trip to Washington this weekend amid fears the US is set to scrap it.

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The Foreign Secretary will spend two days meeting with senior US officials in a bid to persuade the country to change course.

The landmark international agreement is set to reduce international sanctions on Iran’s economy in exchange for a commitment to a peaceful nuclear energy programme.

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But Donald Trump has suggested that the US would pull out of what he described as “the worst deal ever”, when the next deadline for waiving sanctions comes around on May 12t.

The US President has previously called on international partners to "either fix the deal's disastrous flaws, or the United States will withdraw”.

Earlier this month, the Mr Johnson said that he hoped the plan could be rescued "while building on it in order to take account of the legitimate concerns of the US".

A US withdrawal from the plan also signed by China, Russia, Germany France and Britain, would essentially scupper it.

The Foreign Secretary is not expected to meet Mr Trump, but is said to hope that meetings with Vice President Pence and newly-appointed national security adviser John Bolton can persuade the administration to change course.

Speaking ahead of his trip, Mr Johnson said: "On so many of the world's foreign policy challenges the UK and US are in lockstep.

"We've seen this recently with the response to the poisonings in Salisbury, our strong response to Assad's use of chemical weapons in Syria, and the effort to denuclearise North Korea.

"The UK, US and European partners are also united in our effort to tackle the kind of Iranian behaviour that makes the Middle East region less secure - its cyber activities, its support for groups like Hezbollah, and its dangerous missile programme, which is arming Houthi militias in Yemen."

The trip comes amid revelations by The Observer that aides to President Trump had hired a private Israeli intelligence firm to undertake a dirty tricks campaign against members of the Obama administration who were involved in drawing up the deal.

Former Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said: “These are extraordinary and appalling allegations but which also illustrate a high level of desperation by Trump and [Israeli prime minister] Benjamin Netanyahu, not so much to discredit the deal but to undermine those around it.”

In a call with Mrs May on Saturday, President Trump "underscored his commitment to ensure that Iran never acquires a nuclear weapon".

Mr Johnson will also discuss the Syria crisis, as well as the situation in North Korea ahead of crunch talks between President Trump and Kim Jong-un.