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UK says Iran nuclear deal is not dead

LONDON (AA): The U.K.’s foreign secretary on Monday has warned an EU summit of foreign ministers that if the Iran nuclear deal is not maintained then the Middle East could face an existential threat.

Jeremy Hunt said that there is a small window to save the nuclear agreement but warned that if Tehran were to acquire a nuclear weapon, the region would enter a “toxic and dangerous situation”.

“Iran is still a good year away from developing a nuclear weapon. We think there is still a closing, but small, window to keep the deal alive” Hunt said in a statement, adding that “If Iran acquires nuclear weapons then other countries in the region will acquire nuclear weapons.”

Hunt promised that he will do everything in his power to prevent nations in the region from developing nuclear weapons and that he will be building on the leadership shown by the U.K., Germany and France to protect and maintain the deal and to encourage Iran to comply with it.

Hunt also said that the U.K. and the U.S. are in disagreement over the nuclear deal with both countries having different views on how to denuclearise the region. The foreign secretary emphasized the U.K.’s desire to save the deal and find a way out of the crisis.

“The thing we agree with the Americans on is the long-term solution to the tensions in the Middle East – an Iran which ceases the destabilising activity that is happening in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Yemen – and that is the root cause of the problems” Hunt said

On Sunday Britain, France and Germany released a joint statement in which they revealed their deep concerns and worries on the rising tensions in the region. They called for the international community to act responsibly and to collectively de-escalate tensions and resume dialogue.

The foreign secretary’s comments and warnings were made amid rising tensions between the U.K. and Iran after royal marines two weeks ago seized an Iranian oil tanker off the coast of Gibraltar and Iran threatening to detain a British oil tanker in the Persian Gulf, forcing a British warship to train its guns on Iranian vessels.

Under the Iran nuclear deal, also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPoA), Iran agreed to destroy its stockpile of medium-enriched uranium and cut its stockpile of low-enriched uranium by 98 per cent.

The JCPoA was signed by the U.K., the U.S., Russia, China, France, Germany and the EU in 2015.

In October 2017 US president Donald Trump announced that the US would no longer be a signatory to the deal and thus withdraw from the agreement. Shortly after its withdrawal, the U.S. government imposed sanctions on Iran.

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