British Foreign Secretary to visit Iran, discuss nuclear deal

Ahead of first visit to Iran, British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt says nuclear deal "remains a vital component of stability".

Elad Benari ,

British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt
British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt

British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt will visit Iran for the first time on Monday, Reuters reported.

During the visit, Hunt will hold talks with the Iranian government on issues including the future of the 2015 nuclear deal, his office said in a statement.

Hunt’s office said he would meet Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and would stress that the UK is committed to the nuclear deal as long as Iran sticks to its terms. He will also discuss European efforts to maintain nuclear-related sanctions relief.

“The Iran nuclear deal remains a vital component of stability in the Middle East by eliminating the threat of a nuclearized Iran. It needs 100 percent compliance though to survive,” Hunt said in a statement ahead of the visit.

“We will stick to our side of the bargain as long as Iran does. But we also need to see an end to destabilizing activity by Iran in the rest of the region if we are going to tackle the root causes of the challenges the region faces.”

US President Donald Trump announced in May that he was walking away from the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers, and would reimpose sanctions on the Islamic Republic.

Trump later signed an executive order officially reinstating US sanctions against Iran. A second round of US sanctions targeting Iran's oil and shipping industries went into effect on November 4.

The European signatories to the 2015 deal did not agree with Trump’s decision to leave the agreement and have been trying to save the accord, which they see as crucial to forestalling an Iranian nuclear weapon.

The European Union has vowed to help Iran evade the economic sanctions imposed by the US, shielding companies doing business with the rogue state in an effort to preserve the Iran nuclear deal.

Earlier this month, France, Germany, Britain and the European Union issued a joint condemnation of the US move to reimpose sanctions on Iran that were lifted as part of the 2015 nuclear agreement.

"We deeply regret the reimposition of sanctions by the United States stemming from their withdrawal from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action," they said in a statement, which defended the deal as "essential for the security of Europe, the region and the whole world".

"Our objective is to protect European economic actors involved in legitimate commercial trade with Iran," it added.