The United Kingdom’s top diplomat has made a last-ditch diplomatic effort to save the Iran nuclear deal, as US President Donald Trump is expected to make a decision on Tuesday on the fate of the 2015 agreement.
UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson appealed to Trump no to walk away from the deal during his visit to the US capital.
Appearing on Fox News television, Johnson urged the US president “not to throw the baby out with the bathwater”.
During his visit to Washington DC, Johnson met with newly-installed US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to discuss the future of the deal.
Later on Monday evening, Trump said in a social media post that he will make an announcement on Tuesday afternoon whether the US will withdraw from the multilateral deal or stay in.
America’s allies have also been trying to convince Trump to preserve the international agreement, which has limited Iran‘s nuclear capabilities.
On Monday, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said that the nuclear deal, also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), would be “even better” without the participation of the US.
Rouhani also said that Iran is willing to stay in the deal with Europe, Russia and China, if its “expectations” are met.
“The US, from the very start, has been trying to curb Iran’s power, and today, whether they stay in the JCPOA or pull out, they are still after the same thing,” he said.
Under the deal signed in Vienna in 2015, Iran scaled back its uranium enrichment programme and promised not to pursue nuclear weapons. In exchange, international sanctions were lifted, allowing it to sell its oil and gas worldwide. However, secondary US sanctions remain.
Since Trump came to office, however, he has taken several steps to block the deal.
In October, he refused to certify that Iran is living up to the accord. He also targeted several Iranian businesses and individuals with new sanctions.
On January 12, Trump announced he was waiving the US sanctions for the “last time”. He said if his demands to “fix the deal” were not met within 120 days, the US will withdraw from the deal on or before May 12.