UK calls for improvement of relationship with Iran: Spox

IRNA – A spokesman for the British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Saturday that the UK wants a better relationship with Iran in the post-Brexit period.

The spokesperson made the remarks in an exclusive interview with IRNA correspondent in London on condition of anonymity.

The full text of the interview is as follow:

Q: Following Britain’s exiting the EU, the Prime Minister has launched a review on UK’s foreign policy to re-define UK’s place in the world. How does the PM looks at the UK and Iran’s relationship in the post brexit period? (e.g trade, political , health, agriculture,… ).

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 UK leaving the EU means that it will get closer to US policies. Does the PM agree with this statement?

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

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 UK’s independence from the EU makes the case for any coordinated UK-US approach towards Iran and in contrary to EU’s position?

A: The UK’s foreign policy will not be determined by choosing between the US, 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 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 US-deal after President Trump. This will become precedent in international norms that the US comes out of an internationally agreed deal and push 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 US have different views on the nuclear deal. We have always said we regret US withdrawal and the re-imposition of US 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 US as well then that is something we will work towards.

Q: It was reported that US is putting pressure on the UK that if it wants a post-Brexit trade deal with the US, then it must withdraw from JCPOA.

Kindly advise if this is true and if so what has been 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 US sanctions.

It was mentioned today 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 US to practically lift medical sanctions on Iran to combat this global outbreak? If so what practical measures has been taken.

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