U.K. Says Onus on Trump to Come Up With Alternative Iran Deal

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(Bloomberg) -- Fresh from his failure to persuade President Donald Trump to stick with the Iran nuclear agreement, U.K. Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said the responsibility is on the U.S to come up with an alternative.

Britain will work to keep the deal alive, Johnson said. “It’s not gone,” he said, reminding lawmakers that Britain, France, Germany, China, Russia, the EU and Iran have not pulled out.

Here are four key takeaways from Johnson’s statement:

  • “Britain has no intention of walking away,” he insists but before consultations with the other signatories, he cannot say what the U.K. will do about taking the agreement forward.
  • The message was that it’s now up to the U.S. to say how they see the way ahead. “President Trump said he’s committed to finding a new solution and we should hold him to his word.” It was a recurring motif in Johnson’s address, how it’s up to the U.S. to carve out a way forward.
  • British companies are urged to stay in Iran but they may fall foul of U.S. sanctions. “We will do our utmost to protect U.K. commercial interests,” he said. “We have seen deals that can be done without conflicting with the extra-territorial aspects of U.S. sanctions.” The Foreign Office continues to encourage British companies to trade with Iran in online guidance, suggesting they seek legal advice if they have doubts over “whether their proposed activity is subject to U.S. sanctions.”
  • Michael Fallon, who as defence secretary was in the government that signed the agreement, stood up in support Trump’s decision. He said the nuclear deal was "flimsy.” Here was Johnson’s response: “I don’t recall him making those points when he was defence secretary.”

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