News ID: 176276
Published: 0621 GMT January 23, 2017

UK PM to defend Iran deal in talks with Trump

UK PM to defend Iran deal in talks with Trump

British Prime Minister Theresa May will express her support for the Iran nuclear deal when she meets US President Donald Trump later this week, her spokeswoman said.

"Certainly we have been a strong supporter of the Iran deal, of securing that, and I would expect the prime minister to be clear on that during her visit to the US," the spokeswoman said in response to a question about the 2015 nuclear accord between Iran and world powers, which Trump has threatened to either scrap or change, Reuters reported.

Iran and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council – the United States, France, Britain, China and Russia – plus Germany reached the nuclear agreement, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), in July 2015 and started to implement it on January 16, 2016.

The deal, which was later enshrined in a legally-binding UN Security Council resolution, rolled back nuclear-related sanctions against Iran, which, in turn, put limits on its nuclear program.

During his presidential campaign, Trump had promised to repeal the nuclear accord which he referred to as a "disaster" and "the worst deal ever negotiated".

Reacting to Trump’s threat last week, Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said Washington cannot unilaterally decide to abrogate the agreement as it is an “international agreement,” and not a bilateral one between Iran and the US.

Zarif, however, said Tehran’s response would “surprise” Trump should the new US president “tear up” the JCPOA.

 

Trump-Netanyahu consultation

On Sunday night the US president and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu agreed to consult closely on Middle East issues, including Iran.

According to a White House statement, the two men held a telephonic conversation during which they “agreed to continue to closely consult on a range of regional issues,” Press TV reported.

Trump underlined the importance of the close relationship between Washington and Tel Aviv, promised to work toward Israeli-Palestinian peace, and stressed that countering Daesh and other terrorist groups will be a priority of his administration, the statement said.

The statement also said that the US president “affirmed his unprecedented commitment to Israel’s security”.

The Israeli prime minister's office also released a statement, reporting that Trump invited Netanyahu to visit Washington next month.

During a cabinet meeting held earlier on Sunday, Netanyahu once again opposed the Iran nuclear deal

Israel has repeatedly accused Iran of pursuing non-civilian objectives in its nuclear energy program with the regime repeatedly threatening to attack Iran's nuclear facilities based on the unsubstantiated allegations.

Iran rejects the allegations, arguing that as a committed signatory to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and a member of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), it has the right to use nuclear technology for peaceful purposes.

In addition, the IAEA has conducted numerous inspections of Iran's nuclear facilities but has never found any evidence showing that Iran's civilian nuclear program has been diverted to nuclear weapons production.

Israel, which is widely believed to possess between 200 and 400 nuclear warheads, is a non-signatory to the NPT and continues to defy international calls to join the treaty.

Many observers note that it is Israel’s growing nuclear arsenal rather than Iran which presents a serious threat to peace in the Middle East.

   
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