- Theresa May urged Donald Trump to reconsider his stance on the Iran nuclear deal days before Trump is expected to withdraw
- Trump repeatedly denounced the deal during his election campaign and called it "an embarrassment" at the U.N. General Assembly
- Besides the U.K., France and Germany are in favor of maintaining the deal
- Failure to certify the deal would trigger a 60-day period during which the U.S. Congress would decide on re-imposing Iran sanctions
U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May made a last-ditch effort to sway the U.S. president in a telephone call, with days to go until Trump is expected to withdraw his support for the 2015 agreement.
May told Trump the deal was "vitally important for regional security" while stressing that it must be "carefully monitored and properly enforced".
Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson underlined the message, contacting U.S. counterpart Rex Tillerson to insist the painstakingly negotiated settlement had "made the world a safer place."
Trump repeatedly denounced the deal - under which Iran agreed to give up nuclear weapons programmes in return for the lifting of economic sanctions - during his election campaign.
Last month he told the U.N. General Assembly that the agreement was "an embarrassment to the United States."
However, other signatories including the U.K., France, and Germany are firmly in favor of keeping the settlement in place. Iranian president Hassan Rouhani is seen as having ushered in a more moderate approach in the Middle Eastern state.
Failure to certify the so-called Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPoA) would trigger a 60-day period during which the U.S. Congress would have to decide whether to re-impose sanctions on Iran.
Johnson is meeting Iranian vice president Dr. Ali Akhbar Salehi in London later to press for Iran's continued compliance with the agreement.
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Speaking ahead of the meeting with Dr. Salehi, the Foreign Secretary said, "The nuclear deal was a crucial agreement that neutralized its nuclear threat."
"We have made no bones about our deep concern at Iran's destabilizing regional activity, including its ballistic missile programme, but I remain steadfast in my view that the nuclear deal was an historic achievement that has undoubtedly made the world a safer place."
"It was the culmination of 13 years of painstaking diplomacy and has increased security, both in the region and in the U.K. It is these security implications that we continue to encourage the U.S. to consider."
Foreign Office political director Karen Pierce met French, German and EU counterparts last night to discuss the European position on the JCPoA.
Mr. Johnson also spoke by telephone with Iranian foreign minister Javad Zarif to underline the benefits of the nuclear deal.
The Foreign Secretary also raised concerns about the detention in Iran of all dual U.K.-Iranian nationals, including Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe who was arrested as she tried to leave Tehran last year with her daughter Gabriella following a holiday.
The charity worker was accused of plotting to topple the regime, which she denies, and later sentenced to five years in prison.
This article has been adapted from its original source.
© Associated Newspapers Ltd.