Iran discussed as Trump calls to congratulate new British PM

Trump was in a call with Johnson on Friday. (Reuters)
Updated 27 July 2019

Iran discussed as Trump calls to congratulate new British PM

  • Tensions with Iran have risen after it had seized the British-flagged Stena Impero
  • Boris Johnson succeeded Theresa May as British prime minister earlier this week

JEDDAH: US President Donald Trump discussed current tensions with Iran with UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, in a call on Friday.

Iran seized the British-flagged Stena Impero a week ago, prompting strong condemnation from the UK and allies.

On Thursday, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said he was willing to go to Iran for talks amid tensions between Tehran and Washington, but also called on Japan, Britain and other nations to join a maritime force to guard oil tankers sailing through the Strait of Hormuz.

Tensions between Iran and the US have ratcheted up since last year, when Trump withdrew the US from the Iranian nuclear deal, formally called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, saying it was not strong enough. Washington also reimposed sanctions on Tehran.

Trump and Iranian leaders have both publicly said talks were possible, but the prospect for dialogue appeared to recede on Wednesday when the top military adviser to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Tehran would not negotiate with Washington under any circumstances.

Trump congratulated Johnson on becoming British prime minister, succeeding Theresa May who had failed to win over Parliament on her Brexit plan. 

Trump said their two governments were already working on a free trade agreement seen as crucial to help Britain once a Brexit deal takes place. 

"They agreed that Brexit offers an unparalleled opportunity to strengthen the economic partnership between the UK and United States," said a British government statement.

It said the leaders “both expressed their commitment to delivering an ambitious free trade agreement and to starting negotiations as soon as possible after the UK leaves the EU.”

— with Reuters


Navy destroyer’s Beirut visit a ‘security reminder’: US envoy

Updated 36 min 11 sec ago

Navy destroyer’s Beirut visit a ‘security reminder’: US envoy

BEIRUT: The US Navy destroyer USS Ramage docked at the port of Beirut for 24 hours as a “security reminder,” according to Elizabeth Richard, the US ambassador to Lebanon.

“The US Navy is not far away, and Our ships were often near the Mediterranean, and will remain so,” the American envoy said.

Ricard and Vice Admiral James J. Malloy – the commander of the 5th Fleet – whose area of responsibility includes the waters of Arabian Gulf, Gulf of Oman, Gulf of Aden, Red Sea and the Arabian Sea, hosted ‘an on-board reception for US and Lebanese officials.’

USS Ramage is an Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer, named after Vice Admiral Lawson P. Ramage, a notable submarine commander and Medal of Honor recipient in World War II. The ship specializes in destroying guided missiles launched from warships, aside from providing multiple offensive and defensive tasks.

Richard assured that “the security and stability in the East Mediterranean are of utmost importance to the United States and to Lebanon as well, and with regards to the issue of oil derivatives that concerns more than one state in the region, we hope that Lebanon joins in, as the issue of maritime security will soon acquire more importance.”

She assured that: “the presence of the USA in these waters is of common interest, and the presence of the American destroyer in Lebanon is a political message.”

Richard also said that partnership with Lebanon was not limited to military cooperation, and that the USA is “committed to help the Lebanese people through this period of economic hardship, and to supporting the Lebanese institutions that defend Lebanese sovereignty.”

Meanwhile, Admiral Malloy said during the reception that “our military relations with Lebanon transcends the issue of military hardware, and the Lebanese armed forces have set plans to improve its naval capabilities, and the USA will continue playing the primary role in supporting these efforts.”

Built in 1993, the USS Ramage was put into active service in 1995 with a crew of almost 300 officers and enlisted personnel. It is 154 meters long and 20 meters and could reach a top speed of 30 knots, or 56 kilometers per hour.