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Britain won't back Trump in new Iran row

By Elizabeth Arnold

Britain will "certainly" stand up to Donald Trump over his administration's sanctions on Iran, the minister of state for the Middle East has said.

Alistair Burt said the Iran nuclear deal was an important part of "not only the region's security but the world's security".

But US President Trump issued a warning for countries trading with Iran, tweeting: "Anyone doing business with Iran will NOT be doing business with the United States. I am asking for WORLD PEACE, nothing less!"

Mr Burt's comments came as the UK and EU announced they will take action to block the impact of US sanctions, which came into force on Monday after President Trump backed out of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal in May.

Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt issued a joint statement with EU foreign ministers on their "determination to protect" European businesses working with Iranian companies.

Asked if Britain would impose sanctions as well, Mr Burt told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "No, we made it clear when the US announced its proposed position a little while ago that we regard the JCPOA - (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action) the nuclear deal - as an important part of not only the region's security but the world's security.

"Iran has been complying with this nuclear deal in terms of removing part of its uranium stock and complying with the determination of the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) to make sure that it wasn't returning to nuclear adventurism, we think this is really important.

"There are other things that involve Iran that we're concerned about in the region, but sticking to a deal which a number of partners had agreed to we thought was important."

Mr Burt added: "It's a commercial decision for companies whether or not they continue to work in Iran, we believe that they should as part of JCPOA."

Asked if the Government would stand up to the US, he went on: "As far as a disagreement with President Trump on this is concerned, they can certainly expect the UK to do this.

"People talk about a partnership between us which is very real but a good partnership between friends requires us to take a stance when we think it's important to do so."

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