In a chilling sign of how compromised the UK’s influence outside the EU will be, a top Whitehouse official warned that a favourable Trump trade deal could be contingent on the UK backing Trump on tearing up the Iran nuclear deal.
Donald Trump has continuously poured scorn on the deal his predecessor in the Whitehouse was part of negotiating to stop Iran’s nuclear weapon program.
Tensions between the US and Iran have been high since the US pulled out of the deal calling for more harsh economic sanctions on Iran, as well as assassinating prominent military chief Qasem Soleimani.
EU heads of state have given Iran a last chance to make the deal work after they threatened to resume their nuclear program in retaliation, but Donald Trump wants the UK to abandon the 2015 deal.
Richard Goldberg, until last week a member of the White House national security council, tasked with curbing Iranian weapons of mass destruction, told the BBC that Boris Johnson now faced a stark choice.
The Trump official said: “the question for prime minister Johnson is: ‘As you are moving towards Brexit, as your supporters of Brexit really do not like the nuclear deal, want you to get out of the nuclear deal … what are you going to do post-31 January as you come to Washington to negotiate a free-trade agreement with the United States?’”
Goldberg warned: “It’s absolutely in his interests and the people of Great Britain’s interests to join with President Trump, with the United States, to realign your foreign policy away from Brussels, and to join the maximum pressure campaign to keep all of us safe.”
The UK, France and Germany had agreed to refer the Iran deal to its dispute-resolution mechanism to give it a last chance before it is abandoned.
However Boris Johnson had controversially gone it alone in suddenly calling for a “Trump deal” to replace it this week, seemingly contradicting what his Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab had said.
Donald Trump – in between angry tweets at the Democrats over his impeachment – tweeted that this was a sign Boris Johnson supported his plan to replace the Iran nuclear deal.
Donald Trump has never explained what the nuclear deal should be replaced with.
Shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry scoffed at the PM’s sudden fickle support for Trump’s “mythical” deal.
The Labour leadership hopeful told the House of Commons: “in the space of two or three days the Prime Minister has gone from signing a joint statement with France and Germany calling for the retention and restoration of the JCPOA [Iran nuclear deal], to calling for it to be scrapped and replaced by some mythical Trump deal.”
She added: “Can he confirm that in his discussions with his American counterparts that they have said that one of the problems with the JCPOA was, to quote the Prime Minister, ‘it was negotiated by president Obama?’
“I mean we all suspect that is Trump the toddler’s main issue with it, but can he confirm the Prime Minister was correct?”