Boris Johnson has been slammed for creeping to Donald Trump over his opposition to the Iran nuclear deal.
Just days ago, the Prime Minister put his name to a joint statement with France and Germany, calling for Iran deal to be preserved.
And today Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said the UK remains “committed to the deal”.
But just hours Mr Johnson called for the deal to be scrapped and “replaced” with a “Trump deal,” in an apparent appeal to the US President’s prejudices.
Mr Raab said the Iranian government has a choice, explaining: “We urge Iran to work with us to save the deal. We urge Iran to see this as an opportunity to reassure the world that its nuclear intentions are exclusively peaceful.”
But while Shadow Foreign Secretary Emily Thornberry welcomed Mr Raab’s measured statement, she noted the contradiction with Mr Johnson’s words.
She said: "In the space of two or three days the Prime Minister has gone from signing a joint statement with France and Germany calling for the retention and restoration of [the deal], to calling for it to be scrapped and replaced by some mythical Trump deal."
She added: "Can he confirm that in his discussions with his American counterparts that they have said that one of the problems with [the deal] was, to quote the Prime Minister, 'it was negotiated by president Obama?'
"I mean we all suspect that is Trump the toddler's main issue with it, but can he confirm the Prime Minister was correct?"
Mr Raab said: “She made a whole series of attacks on the US administration that seems to cloud her judgment in this area.
"In fact, it's not just President Trump but also President Macron who has argued for a broader deal with Iran which first of all addresses some of the defects in [the deal], which is not a perfect deal but is, in our view, the best deal we have on the table as of now.
"And secondly would address the wider concerns that the US and many other states, including the United Kingdom, have about Iran's broader destabilising activities in the region."
At a briefing which took at the same time as Mr Raab’s statement, the Prime Minister’s Official Spokesman said: “The UK will work towards an alternative deal to prevent Iran obtaining nuclear weapons if it has US support, but for now, the current deal is the only one in place”.
He added: "The JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action) is the only deal that currently exists which prevents Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon but as the prime minister said before…if in the future we can agree a better deal that has the support of the United States… then that's something we will work towards."
Donald Trump in 2018 pulled the US out of the agreement, branding it “the worst deal ever”, a “disaster” for which he blamed his predecessor Barack Obama.
This morning, in an interview which appeared to carry a message for the Trump himself, Prime Minister said one of the problems with the deal was that it had been negotiated by his predecessor Barack Obama.
He said: “Now 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.”
He added: “President Trump is a great deal maker by his own account and many others. Let's work together to replace the JCPOA and get the Trump deal instead."
The interview recalled a similar tactic employed by Britain, France and Germany during the UN General Assembly in September, in a fruitless attempt to bring Trump back to the table on Iran.
Mr Johnson, French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel issued a similar joint statement in support of the deal.
Meanwhile Mr Johnson took to the airwaves with a dripping assessment of President Trump’s deal-making abilities, and suggesting a new ‘Trump deal’ was the best way forward.
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