Politics

'All Options' To Be Examined If Iran Breaches Nuclear Deal, Downing Street Says

Iran has been warned it could face diplomatic or economic sanctions if it breaches the terms of its 2015 nuclear deal.

Downing Street said "all options" would be examined if Iran breached the terms of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) deal.

Military chiefs have been summoned for a COBRA meeting in Whitehall on Monday's afternoon.

The meeting takes place within the Cabinet Office and is designed to discuss how the nation would handle its response to potentially disruptive matters, but the Ministry of Defence insists no personnel are being deployed to assist yet.

Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt has also warned there is a "great risk" of a drift to war with Iran following an attack on two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman.

Saudi Arabia joined the US and the UK in blaming Iran for the attack, a claim the country strongly denies.

Mr Hunt said Britain is "urging all sides" in the dispute to "de-escalate" in order to avoid an armed conflict.

Speaking on the BBC One's 'The Andrew Marr Show', he said: "Having spoken to President Trump, I am absolutely clear that for America they want this to end in negotiations.

"Let's see Iran stop its destabilising activities in Lebanon through Hezbollah, in Yemen where they are firing missiles into Saudi Arabia, on the Gulf as we have seen. That is the long-term solution."

Tensions have been rising in the region since the US pulled out of the Iran nuclear deal and reimposed sanctions on the country.

Meanwhile, EU Foreign Ministers gathered in Luxembourg to address the situation currently developing in the Gulf.

Concern was evident and Federica Mogherini, the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, stressed that the maximum restraint and wisdom should be applied.

"So far, Iran has been compliant with its nuclear commitments as we had expected it to be, as we had encouraged it to be, as the rest of the international community together with us has cooperated with Iran in helping this implementation to continue," said Ms Mogherini.

"If the IA assessment and reports will change, we will then assess the situation further."

The US deployed an aircraft carrier strike group to the Middle East amid rising tensions with Iran (Picture: US Department of Defense).
The US deployed an aircraft carrier strike group to the Middle East amid rising tensions with Iran (Picture: US Department of Defense).

The US accused Iran of using limpet mines to target the tankers, releasing video footage it said showed the Iranian military removing an unexploded mine from one of the ships.

Last month, the US sent an aircraft carrier and bombers to the region to counter what it said was a growing threat from Iran.

During his interview, Mr Hunt defended the Foreign Office's view that Iran was "almost certain" to blame for the attacks on the tankers. 

"We have done our own intelligence assessment. We have got videos of what happened. We have seen evidence. We don't believe anyone else could have done this," he said.

Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said on Sunday the kingdom will not hesitate to confront threats to its security and joined the US in accusing Iran of being behind the attacks on two oil tankers near the strategic Strait of Hormuz.

Prince Mohammed said Iran disrespected the visit to Tehran by the Japanese prime minister last week and responded to his diplomatic efforts to reduce regional tensions by attacking the two tankers, but he provided no evidence to back up his allegations.

"The problem is in Tehran and not anywhere else," Prince Mohammed said.

"Iran is always the party that's escalating in the region, carrying out terrorist attacks and criminal attacks either directly or through its militias."

Iran rejects accusations it was responsible for Thursday's attacks, saying it stands ready to play an active and constructive role in ensuring the security of maritime passages.