LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM — Secretary of State Michael Pompeo and United Kingdom Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt presented a united front against Iran’s announcement Wednesday that it would stop complying with certain parts of the nuclear deal.
“We’re working together to push back against that threat,” Pompeo said at a press conference with Hunt. “We’re on the same side. We’re on the side of values-driven democracy. We’re on the side of freedom, we’re on the side of creating a nation for the Iranian people where they can have religious freedom, and they can have a democracy,” he said.
Hunt called the nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, a “very important achievement of Western diplomacy” and noted that Iran does not have nuclear weapons, and its neighbors have not tried to obtain them either.
However, he said, “Today’s announcement from Tehran about its commitments under the deal is an unwelcome step. I urge Iran not to take further escalatory steps, and to stand by its commitments.”
Hunt also warned that if Iran broke its commitments to the nuclear deal, “there will be consequences as to how European powers will react.”
“We urge the Iranians to think very long and hard before they break that deal. It is in no one’s interests,” he said. “This is a very serious moment and we very strongly urge them to reconsider.”
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani announced earlier Wednesday that Iran would not fully withdraw from the JCPOA, but that it would reduce its commitments to it.
He said Iran would keep its excess enriched uranium and heavy water, instead of selling it to other countries as agreed under the deal.
Back in Washington, Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR), one of the most hawkish senators on Iran, urged the Europe to stay strong.
“Europe must not give in to Tehran’s nuclear blackmail as the ayatollahs threaten to renew their rush toward the bomb. The United Kingdom, Germany, and France ought to walk away from their financial backchannels with Iran and join the United States in imposing maximum pressure on the regime,” he said in a statement.
“The United States will remain steadfast in its approach until Iran abandons its nuclear and missile programs and support for terrorism.”