A Boris Johnson column from 2006 has resurfaced as tensions flare in the Middle East.
Iran has said it will no longer abide by any of the limits of its unravelling 2015 nuclear deal with world powers after a US air strike killed a top Iranian general in Baghdad.
It ends an accord that blocked Tehran from having enough material to build an atomic weapon.
We should admit that it’s checkmate
But according to Johnson, who previously had a column in the Telegraph before becoming Prime Minister, that might not be a bad thing.
Writing at the time, he said:
“My despairing feeling is that, in the case of Iran, we should admit that it’s checkmate, as they say in Persian. The Iranians are one day going to possess a nuclear bomb; there is almost certainly nothing we can do about it; all our blustering and threats are pointless. Indeed, if all else fails, there may even be a case for giving the Iranians the bomb — that’s right: maybe it is time for the Americans to take control themselves of this unstoppable programme.
“If I am right in thinking that an Iranian bomb is not only inevitable, but also corresponds to the wishes of the people of Iran, then perhaps we could turn this whole thing on its head. Perhaps it is time to end the sense of terror, and suspicion, and escalating menace. Perhaps the Americans could actually assist with the technology, as they assist the United Kingdom, in return for certain conditions: that the Iranian leadership stops raving about attacking Israel, for instance, and that progress is made towards democracy, and so on.”
“Blunders and poor diplomacy”
The slightly awkward column has resurfaced as Johnson’s diplomatic credentials were placed under the spotlight.
According to one former minister, so inept was he at running the Foreign Office that cleaning up after his gaffes was a “full-time activity”.
Sir Alan Duncan, the Europe minister, said there were “quite a lot of consequences” of Mr Johnson’s failure to display a “conventional diplomatic manner” during his two years at the Foreign Office.
He claimed that one country’s foreign minister had suggested he was Mr Johnson’s “pooper scooper” because he had cleared up his mess so many times.