Boris Johnson heads to Washington as Donald Trump considers future of Iran deal
The Foreign Secretary’s trip to the United States comes as the US president decides whether to reimpose sanctions on Iran.
Boris Johnson is travelling to the United States as part of a last-ditch diplomatic effort to persuade Donald Trump not to scrap the Iran nuclear deal.
The US president has fiercely criticised the agreement, which eased sanctions on Tehran in exchange for commitments to abandon its nuclear weapons programme.
Mr Trump will decide on May 12 whether to reimpose sanctions and effectively torpedo the international alliance behind the deal.
The Foreign Secretary will travel to Washington on Sunday for two days of talks with senior administration officials including vice president Mike Pence.
Israeli PM’s speech on Iran’s past nuclear weapons research shows why we need Iran Nuclear deal. Iran deal based not on trust but verification, allowing @iaeaorg unprecedented access. Need to keep deal & build on it to take account of US & allies’ concerns https://t.co/To50dEs3zM— Boris Johnson (@BorisJohnson) May 1, 2018
He will also meet national security adviser John Bolton and key foreign policy leaders in Congress.
As well as Iran, Mr Johnson’s talks are expected to cover North Korea – ahead of President Trump’s planned meeting with Kim Jong Un – and the situation in Syria.
Mr Trump has threatened to withdraw from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) deal signed by the US, China, Russia, Germany, France and Britain with Iran.
Under its terms Iran is committed to a peaceful nuclear energy programme.
But Mr Trump has been a vocal critic of the agreement and in January issued an ultimatum to “either fix the deal’s disastrous flaws, or the United States will withdraw”.
Earlier this month Mr Johnson stressed the importance of keeping the deal “while building on it in order to take account of the legitimate concerns of the US”.
The European Union has said the deal “is working and it needs to be preserved”.
Ahead of his trip to Washington, 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.”