Fri, May 04, 2018 - Page 6 News List

Guterres urges Trump not to scrap Iran deal

The Guardian

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has urged US President Donald Trump not to scrap the Iran nuclear deal, saying that the Middle East would become an even more dangerous place if such an important diplomatic victory was thrown away with nothing better to replace it.

The US president is due to decide next week whether to withdraw from the agreement — by which Iran accepted nuclear inspections in return for a loosening of economic sanctions — despite intense political opposition from Tehran and the key European powers Britain, Germany and France.

“If one day there is a better agreement to replace it it’s fine, but we should not scrap it unless we have a good alternative,” Guterres said in an interview with BBC Radio 4. “I believe the JCPOA [Iran nuclear deal] was an important diplomatic victory and I think it will be important to preserve it, but I also believe there are areas in which it will be very important to have a meaningful dialogue because I see the region in a very dangerous position.”

Guterres also said the risks of a confrontation between Israel and Iran “were there,” adding that “we need to do everything to avoid those risks.”

The secretary-general was in London for a three-day visit, where he is consulting on what measures can be taken to prevent paralysis at the UN Security Council due primarily to a breakdown in relations between Russia and the West.

Referring to US concerns about Iran’s wider behavior, he said: “I understand the concerns of some countries in relation to the Iranian influence in other countries of the region. So I think we should separate things.”

Britain, France and Germany are planning to keep campaigning to preserve the deal next week, and may even make common cause with Tehran to preserve the deal if Trump pulls out and allows US sanctions on Iran to be reimposed.

In a bid to satisfy Trump’s concerns, they have already agreed to seek a supplementary deal that would cover Iran’s general behavior in the region, Iran’s use of ballistic missiles and the future of the deal once it expires.

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