Iran Nuclear Deal: In Call With Trump, U.K.'s May Stresses 'Strong Commitment' to Pact
British Prime Minister Theresa May shakes hands with US President Donald Trump during their meeting at the Palace Hotel in New York City, on the sidelines of the 72nd United Nations General Assembly, on Sept. 20, 2017.Brendan Smialowski / AFP - Getty Images
Breaking News Emails
Get breaking news alerts and special reports. The news and stories that matter, delivered weekday mornings.
LONDON — Prime Minister Theresa May has reaffirmed Britain's commitment to a 2015 Iran nuclear deal in a telephone conversation with President Donald Trump ahead of a key U.S. decision on whether Tehran has stuck to the terms of the pact.
Trump has often cast doubt on the future of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), which sought to curb Iran's nuclear program in return for lifting most Western economic sanctions.
"The [prime minister] reaffirmed the U.K.'s strong commitment to the deal alongside our European partners, saying it was vitally important for regional security," said a statement from May's office following the call on Tuesday evening.
"[The prime minister] stressed that it was important that the deal was carefully monitored and properly enforced."
In contrast, a White House statement on the phone call said Trump "underscored the need to work together to hold the Iranian regime accountable for its malign and destabilizing activities, especially its sponsorship of terrorism and its development of threatening missiles."
Government officials have told NBC News that the president is preparing to declare that the international accord with Iran is no longer in America’s national security interests, making a symbolic reversal of another of his predecessor’s signature initiatives but one that may largely leave the policy in place.
Let our news meet your inbox. The news and stories that matters, delivered weekday mornings.
The White House press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, said Friday that the announcement of a new comprehensive strategy would happen “in the coming days” and would look at “all the bad behavior” of Tehran, not just its nuclear program.
In a separate statement, Britain's Foreign Office said Iran had upheld its nuclear commitments, adding to international pressure on Trump not to jeopardize security in the region.
"The nuclear deal was a crucial agreement that neutralized Iran’s nuclear threat," foreign minister Boris Johnson said.
"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."
Johnson spoke by telephone with U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif on Tuesday and will on Wednesday meet the head of Iran's nuclear agency in London to press for continued compliance with the deal.
May and Trump also discussed the need for Britain, the United States and others to work together to counter destabilizing Iranian activity in the region, May's office said.