Let Trump re­place Iran nu­clear deal, says John­son

● Days num­bered for JCPOA af­ter Euro­pean al­lies say Tehran in breach

The Scotsman - - NEWS DIGEST - By PARIS GOURTSOYAN­NIS West­min­ster Cor­re­spon­dent news­[email protected]­man.com

The in­ter­na­tional agree­ment to limit Iran’s nu­clear am­bi­tions ap­pears to have col­lapsed af­ter Euro­pean al­lies for­mally de­clared Tehran in breach of the deal and Boris John­son opened the door for Donald Trump to draw up a re­place­ment.

In an in­ter­view, the Prime Min­is­ter sug­gested the Joint Com­pre­hen­sive Plan of Ac­tion (JCPOA) could be “re­placed” with a “Trump deal”, in a ma­jor con­ces­sion to the US Pres­i­dent.

Ac­knowl­edg­ing that the deal was wrapped up in do­mes­tic Amer­i­can pol­i­tics, Mr John­son said one of the prob­lems the US leader had was that it was ne­go­ti­ated by his pre­de­ces­sor, Barack Obama.

It came on the same day that the UK, France and Ger­many ac­cused Tehran of “not meet­ing its com­mit­ments” and re­ferred the mat­ter to the agree­ment’s dis­pute res­o­lu­tion mech­a­nism.

The US Pres­i­dent pulled his coun­try out of the deal and has con­sis­tently at­tacked it as a fail­ure, call­ing on Euro­pean al­lies to aban­don it amid mount­ing ten­sions over the killing of Ira­nian Gen­eral Qassem Soleimani.

Iran has also said it will no longer ob­serve any re­stric­tions on its ura­nium en­rich­ment pro­gramme.

The UK, France and Ger­many had is­sued a joint state­ment de­fend­ing the JCPOA, but in an in­ter­view with the BBC’S Break­fast pro­gramme, Mr John­son opened the door to the deal be­ing re­placed.

“If we’re go­ing to get rid of it, let’s re­place it and let’s re­place it with the Trump deal,” he said. “That would be a great way for­ward.”

He added: “The prob­lem with the JCPOA as far as the Amer­i­cans are con­cerned is that it was ne­go­ti­ated by Pres­i­dent Obama... we need a Trump deal.”

The Prime Min­is­ter played down the prospect of new sanc­tions against Tehran fol­low­ing its ad­mis­sion that it ac­ci­den­tally shot down a pas­sen­ger jet last week, say­ing he “did not en­vis­age” any es­ca­la­tion in ten­sions.

Mr John­son said he was “glad” Iran had ac­knowl­edged it made a “ter­ri­ble mis­take”, adding that the next step was to “repa­tri­ate in a dig­ni­fied way” the bod­ies of those who were killed. The most im­por­tant thing now is that ten­sions in the re­gion calm down,” he said.

The Prime Min­is­ter de­fended his role in the Mid­dle East cri­sis af­ter fac­ing crit­i­cism for not re­turn­ing from his hol­i­day im­me­di­ately.

“I was not in this coun­try but I worked very hard, as you can imag­ine, in making sure there was a Euro­pean re­sponse,” he told the BBC.

Mr John­son said Bri­tain had played its”tra­di­tional role” in serv­ing as the bridge be­tween the “Euro­pean pow­ers and the United States”.

He said there was no need for Bri­tain to have been in­formed be­fore the at­tack: “This was not our op­er­a­tion.”

0 Boris John­son played down the prospect of new sanc­tions

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