Politics

Defence Secretary: 'Still Life' In Iran Nuclear Deal

Ben Wallace has called for de-escalation as Iran declares "no limits" on uranium enrichment.

The Defence Secretary says there is "still life" in the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, despite the Prime Minister's call for it to be replaced with a new "Trump deal".

Ben Wallace urged nations who signed the deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), to come together and de-escalate amid the heightened tensions.

He said the UK wants the deal, that limits Iran's uranium enrichment in return for sanction relief, "to succeed".

He also called on Iran to act as a "civilised nation".

It comes after the country's president Hassan Rouhani suggested Western troops in the region, including UK forces, could be in danger.

"We want the JCPOA to succeed... we think there is still life in it," Mr Wallace said.

"We also want Iran to play its full part...and address some of its other behaviours.

"On the recent threat...we take statements like that from President Houhani seriously.

"The way to de-escalate the situation is for all the sides to come together to address each other's fears."

General Qassem Soleimani
General Qassem Soleimani was killed by US forces earlier this month (Picture: PA).

On Thursday, Mr Rouhani said there is "no limit" to the country's uranium enrichment, following a decision to abandon its commitments outlined in the deal.

He said his country's nuclear programme is in a "better situation" than it was prior to the 2015 agreement with world powers.

Tensions between Iran and the US have increased since President Donald Trump withdrew America from the deal in 2018.

But relations have worsened even further following a US air strike that killed top Iranian military officer, General Qassem Soleimani.

Iran vowed revenge for the attack and responded by hitting Iraqi military bases housing American and British troops.

US soldiers prepare unserviceable ammunition to be destroyed through a controlled detonation at Al Asad Air Base, Iraq
Mr Rouhani warned Western troops in the region were in danger (Picture: US Army).

Mr Trump has now urged the UK, China, France, Russia and Germany to also leave the deal.

On Tuesday, Boris Johnson said a "Trump deal" could fix the current crisis.

"If we are going to get rid of it then we need a replacement," Mr Johnson told BBC Breakfast.

"If we are going to get rid of it, let's replace it and let's replace it with the Trump deal.

"That's what we need to see. I think that would be a great way forward."

Speaking about a potential new deal, Mr Wallace said: "In the end, we're trying to find a way through this and if a big deal is what is required, then we should embrace that alongside the JCPOA."