All tagged United Kingdom
◢ A team of British experts arrived in Iran on Monday to begin work to upgrade the Arak heavy water nuclear reactor, the UK embassy in Tehran said. Iran removed the core of the Arak facility and filled part of it with cement as part of a 2015 deal that gave the country relief from sanctions in return for curbs on its nuclear program.
◢ U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson said it’s time to strike a new nuclear deal with Iran, breaking ranks with European allies France and Germany. “Whatever your objections to the old nuclear deal with Iran, it’s time now to move forward and do a new deal,” Johnson told Sky News on Monday.
◢ Iran's government spokesman Ali Rabiei said on Monday that a British-flagged oil tanker is "free" to leave more than two months after it was seized in the Persian Gulf. "The legal process has finished and based on that the conditions for letting the oil tanker go free have been fulfilled and the oil tanker can move," Rabiei told a news conference.
◢ Britain said Monday it will join forces with the United States to protect merchant vessels in the Persian Gulf amid heightened tensions with Iran, after Tehran taunted Washington that its allies were too "ashamed" to join the mission. Britain's decision to form the joint maritime taskforce with the United States marks a departure in policy under new Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
◢ Iran’s seizure and continued detention of a UK-flagged tanker deals Boris Johnson an immediate loyalty test: Britain's new prime minister may have to choose between Persian Gulf escorts led by Europe or by the United States. Which way Johnson leans could set the tone for a complex agenda that includes withdrawing from the European Union and striking a trade deal with the United States.
◢ A top Iranian diplomat expressed disappointment on Sunday after meeting a British Foreign Office minister amid escalating regional tensions, saying their talks were "repetitive", state news agency IRNA reported. Minister of State for the Middle East Andrew Murrison had the "usual talking points", said Kamal Kharazi, the head of the Strategic Council of Foreign Relations at Iran's foreign ministry.
◢ U.S. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo fired a broadside of criticism at the U.K.’s approach to national security, demanding America’s long-standing ally takes a far tougher approach to China and Iran, and to hurry up and deliver Brexit. His criticism comes at a particularly sensitive time for Prime Minister Theresa May, who is struggling to complete Britain’s divorce from the European Union and under daily pressure to resign.