‘UK wants a better relationship with Iran in post-Brexit period’

March 8, 2020 - 18:28

TEHRAN - A spokesman for the British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said that the United Kingdom wants a better relationship with Iran in the post-Brexit period.

“The UK wants a better relationship with Iran. Our response to the coronavirus outbreak shows that we are committed to working together on issues of shared concern,” the spokesperson said in an exclusive interview with IRNA correspondent in London on condition of anonymity.

Following is the full text of the interview published on Saturday:

Q: Following Britain's exit from the EU, the prime minister has launched a review on the UU foreign policy to re-define the country’s place in the world. How does the PM look at the UK and Iran’s relationship in the post Brexit period? 

A: The UK wants a better relationship with Iran. Our response to the coronavirus outbreak shows that we are committed to working together on issues of shared concern.

And we remain committed to working with Iran to preserve the JCPOA nuclear deal. But Iran’s recent decisions to reduce its compliance with the deal are a major concern. Our objective, alongside France and Germany, in triggering the deal’s dispute mechanism is to preserve it and work with all parties, including Iran, to find a diplomatic way forward.

Q: For many, the idea of the UK leaving the EU means that it will get closer to U.S. policies. Does the PM agree with this view?

A: The UK continues to work closely with our partners on foreign policy, including the EU and the U.S.

But we have also been clear that where we disagree with any partner; we will always seek open and frank discussions – and when we think something is wrong, we say it.

Q: Does the United Kingdom’s independence from the EU makes the case for any coordinated London-Washington approach towards Iran and in contrary to the EU’s position?

A: The UK’s foreign policy will not be determined by choosing between the U.S., Europe or indeed anyone else, but instead by considered judgements of where our national interests lie.

Q: Could you also elaborate on the idea of “Trump’s deal”, and if it means the UK is signaling to withdraw from JCPOA?

A: The JCPOA is the only deal that currently exists to prevent nuclear proliferation, and we are committed to preserving it.

Q: When there is a case for Trump’s deal, there will always be a case for U.S. deal after President Trump. This will become a precedent in international norms that the U.S. pulls out of an internationally agreed deal and pushes for another one. Would you agree with this statement?

A: The JCPOA is the only deal that currently exists to prevent nuclear proliferation, and we are committed to preserving it.

It’s no secret that we and the U.S. have different views on the nuclear deal. We have always said we regret U.S. withdrawal and the re-imposition of U.S. sanctions. But as the prime minister has said before, including at the UN General Assembly in September, if in the future we can agree a better deal that has the support of the U.S. as well then that is something we will work towards.

Q: It was reported that the U.S. is putting pressure on the UK that if it wants a post-Brexit trade deal with the U.S., it must withdraw from the JCPOA.
If this is true what has been the UK’s response?

A: We remain committed to finding a diplomatic way forward to preserve the JCPOA.

Q: The outbreak of Coronavirus in Iran in worrisome. The country is largely suffering from access to medication due to U.S. sanctions. It was mentioned recently in the briefing that the UK will cooperate with other countries to combat the virus. Does this include cooperation with Iran? If so in what form and scale?

A: We continue to work closely with the WHO and the international community to ensure that we can best work together on our response to this outbreak.

As announced this week, the UK, together with France and Germany, are offering UN agencies in Iran a comprehensive package of material and financial support to combat the rapid spread of the disease there.

Q: Will the UK try to persuade the U.S. to practically lift medical sanctions on Iran to combat this global outbreak? 

A: As we’ve said before, we do not agree with the policy of maximum economic pressure. We work closely with the U.S. on matters relating to the Middle East, and the U.S. is aware of our position.

We, alongside international partners, are developing INSTEX as a mechanism to overcome some of the blockages in financial channels for trade with Iran.

NA/PA

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