WATCH: Boris Johnson in last-ditch Fox News plea to Donald Trump over Iran nuclear deal
Boris Johnson has urged Donald Trump not to “throw the baby out with the bathwater” as he appeared on US TV in a bid to convince the President not to scrap the Iran nuclear deal.
Mr Trump has threatened to torpedo the Obama-era accord, which was drawn up to get Tehran to slash its stockpile of uranium in exchange for the lifting of Western sanctions.
Amid frantic lobbying efforts by Britain, France and Germany to salvage the deal before a crunch deadline this week, the UK Foreign Secretary appeared on Mr Trump’s favoured television news show – Fox and Friends – to call on the US President to change course.
Mr Johnson said the American Commander-in-Chief was “right to see flaws” in the deal with Iran, arguing that Mr Trump had “set a very reasonable challenge to the world” to try and improve the settlement, which was signed in 2015 after months of intense diplomacy.
“We need to find a way of fixing that,” Mr Johnson said. “And the President has been right to call attention to it.
“But you've got to do that without just throwing the baby out with the bathwater, without scrapping the whole thing, because if you do that you have to answer the question: what next?
“What if the Iranians do rush for a nuclear weapon? Are we seriously saying that we're going to bomb those facilities...? Is that really a realistic possibility or do we work with what we've got and push back on Iran together?”
The Foreign Secretary insisted that the deal – which Mr Trump has dismissed as the “worst ever” – offered the best bet at keeping Iran from developing a nuclear weapon, and he warned that scrapping the agreement raised the spectre of “an arms race in the Middle East”.
“You’re going to have the Saudis wanting one, the Egyptians, the Emirates - it's already a very very dangerous state at the moment," he said.
"We don't want to go down that route. And as I say - there doesn't seem to me at the moment to be a viable military solution.”
Mr Johnson also pushed back at suggestions the deal had been ineffective, pointing out that world powers were “not just trusting" the Iranian regime to comply but instead listening to the findings of more than 400 inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency watchdog.
“They haven't been rushing for a nuke,” he said. “Let me remind you, before the deal was done […] they could have had a nuke and they were massively enriching uranium. They could have had a nuke within a month.”
Mr Trump will meet US Vice President Mike Pence and Mr Trump’s hawkish new national security chief John Bolton later today as he continues his bid to convince the President not to take an axe to the agreement.
The coordinated diplomatic effort comes amid strong signs that Mr Trump will reimpose sanctions on Tehran on 12 May, the date a six-month waiver on the restrictions expires.
Meanwhile, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said his country would "remain committed" to the 2015 deal even if Mr Trump pulls out, according to Reuters.