Boris Johnson has said he would support axing the Iran nucleal deal if a new deal could be negotiated by the US president.

The Prime Minister told BBC Breakfast ‘the problem with the JCPoA is basically – this is the crucial thing, this is why there is tension – is from the American perspective it’s a flawed agreement, it expires, plus it was negotiated by President Obama.

‘And from their point of view it has many many faults.

‘Well, if we’re going to get rid of it let’s replace it – and let’s replace it with the Trump deal.’

His comments contradicted a joint statement published on the same morning by the foreign ministers of France, Germany and the United Kingdom.

The E3 foreign ministers’ statement said the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPoA) plays a ‘key role’ in ‘upholding the nuclear non-proliferation regime’ and expressed ‘regret and concern at the decision by the United States to withdraw from the JCPoA and to re-impose sanctions on Iran.’

After the assassination of Iran’s top military commander Qasem Soleimani by a US drone attack on the 3 January, Tehran announced on the 6 January that it will no longer be bound by the limits on uranium enrichment that it accepted under the Iran nuclear deal.

The E3 statement condemned Iran’s retaliatory measures and said it would refer the matter to the JCPoA ‘s Dispute Resolution Mechanism.

A motive for Boris Johnson’s shift in position was suggested today by one of Donald Trump’s allies, Richard Goldberg, who until last week was a member of the White House national security council. He told the BBC today that if Britain sticks with the JCPoA, it will weaken the Prime MInister’s negotiating position in US-UK trade deal talks.

CND’s view on the current situation

It is very alarming that the Prime Minister appears to be ceding ground to President Trump’s maximum pressure campaign.

Trump has used the crisis he initiated with the extra-judicial killing of Soleimani and the reintroduction of sanctions on the Iranian economy, to pressure the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Russia and China into breaking away from what he calls the ‘remnants’ of the deal.

It would be a further act of diplomatic vandalism for the UK to cave in to Trump’s dangerous demands, and brazenly opportunistic to do so in the interests of a trade deal. Nuclear proliferation and war are the likely outcomes.

We should remember that the Iran nuclear deal was the product of years of painstaking negotiations. It succeeded because of its streamlined focus on lifting sanctions in return for limits on Iran’s nuclear energy programme. The idea that Donald Trump can tear it up and start again isn’t a serious suggestion.

The E3 statement suggests that the British government still supports the Iran nuclear deal, despite the Prime Minister’s comments. But the pressures are great and it remains very vulnerable while the US continues its belligerent campaign.

We call on the government to do all it can to save the deal and prevent further steps towards war on Iran. The measures to alleviate the effects of sanctions on the Iranian economy via Instex must be strengthened urgently and the JCPoA must not be used as a bargaining chip in the trade negotiations with the United States.

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