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.