May and Trump determined to stop ‘terrorist supporting’ Iran gaining nuclear weapon

President Donald Trump and British Prime Minister Theresa May arrive for a news conference at the Foreign Office on Tuesday. (AP)
Updated 05 June 2019

May and Trump determined to stop ‘terrorist supporting’ Iran gaining nuclear weapon

  • Trump says US and UK are determined to stop Iran engaging in terrorism
  • Khamenei vows Iran will never give up its missile program

LONDON: Donald Trump and Theresa May discussed tackling “Iran’s destabilizing activity” in the Middle East during the US president’s state visit to the UK.

The two countries will work to ensure “Tehran can not acquire a nuclear weapon,” May said at a joint press conference in London.

The British prime minister, who will leave her job on Friday, acknowledged that the US and the UK had differed in their approaches on how to reach those goals. The UK, along with European nations, has stuck by the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers after Trump withdrew the US from the accord last year.

But the two leaders made sure that their joint concern over the threat from Iran was a key foreign policy issue on the agenda during Trump’s visit.

“The UK continues to stand by the nuclear deal,” May said. “It is clear that we both want to reach the same goal. It is important that Iran meets its obligation and we do everything to prevent escalation, which is in no one's interests.”

Trump last month beefed up America’s military presence in the Middle East, deploying an aircraft carrier, long-range bombers and Patriot missiles to the Arabian Gulf region.

“The United States and the United Kingdom are determined to ensure that Iran never develops nuclear weapons and stops supporting and engaging in terrorism,” Trump said.

Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei hit back later Tuesday, saying Tehran would not be "deceived" by Trump’s recent offer of negotiations and would not give up its missile program.

"The U.S. president recently said Iran can achieve development with its current leaders. That means they do not seek regime change ... But this political trick will not deceive Iranian officials and the Iranian nation,"  Khamenei said in a televised address.
"In the missile programme, they know we have reached a point of deterrence and stability. They want to deprive us from it, but they will never succeed."

Trump also thanked the UK for the role played in defeating Daesh in Iraq and Syria.

During the press conference Trump also promised Britain a “phenomenal” post-Brexit trade deal and pledged to work out any differences with London on the role of China’s Huawei in building 5G networks.

Speaking on the second day of his visit, he congratulated May for her time as prime minister and singled out two of her potential successors for praise.

Trump mentioned Boris Johnson, who has said the UK should leave the European Union on Oct. 31, deal or no deal, and Jeremy Hunt, Britain’s foreign minister who has warned against leaving without a deal.

Trump’s state visit, promised by May back in January 2017 when she became the first foreign leader to meet him after he took office, has been cast as a chance to celebrate Britain’s “special relationship” with the US, boost trade links and reaffirm security cooperation.

*With Reuters

Health fears over French academic held in Iran

Updated 58 sec ago

Health fears over French academic held in Iran

  • Adelkhah would be willing to end her hunger strike if Marchal was freed
  • Iran does not recognize dual nationality and has lashed out at Paris for what it has described as ‘interference’

PARIS: French-Iranian academic Fariba Adelkhah has requested access to her French colleague Roland Marchal in detention in Iran, saying she has “serious concerns” about his health, a committee supporting the pair said Thursday.
The two researchers have been held in the Islamic Republic since June, two of a number of foreigners arrested in Iran during a spike in tensions between Tehran and the West.
Adelkhah would be willing to end her hunger strike, which she started on Dec. 24, if Marchal was freed, the support committee said in a press release sent to AFP.
“She has the most serious concerns about his health — an alarm that we share,” because the Revolutionary Guards have refused a consular visit to Marchal since December, the committee said.
French nationals held abroad can usually receive consular visits, during which detention conditions — and their health — can be checked.
But Iran does not recognize dual nationality and has lashed out at Paris for what it has described as “interference” in the cases of the academics, both from Sciences Po university in Paris.
Adelkhah has refused to return to her cell and held a sit-in in a public area of the prison over the last week, demanding to see Marchal “to comfort him and check the state of his health,” the committee said.
Iran has dropped espionage charges against Adelkhah but she still faces charges of spreading “propaganda against the political system” and “conspiracy against national security.”
Marchal is accused of “collusion against national security,” according to his lawyer.
The two researchers are not the only foreign academics behind bars in Iran — Australian Kylie Moore-Gilbert of the University of Melbourne is serving a 10-year sentence on espionage charges. Moore-Gilbert is sharing a cell with Adelkhah and joined her on the hunger strike.
Arrests of foreigners including dual nationals in Iran have increased since the United States pulled out a landmark nuclear agreement with Tehran in 2018 and reimposed crippling sanctions.
France and other European nations have tried to salvage the deal, but tensions soared further after the US killing of Iranian commander Qasem Soleimani earlier this month.
France has regularly called on Iran to release Adelkhah and Marchal, with Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian saying earlier this month that their detention was “unacceptable.”