Trump agrees with British Prime Minister Johnson on a ‘Trump deal’ for Iran

US President Donald Trump and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson hold a meeting at UN Headquarters in New York, September 24, 2019. (File/AFP)
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Updated 15 January 2020

Trump agrees with British Prime Minister Johnson on a ‘Trump deal’ for Iran

  • Johnson, who has praised Trump as a great dealmaker, called on Tuesday for the president to replace the Iranian nuclear deal with his own new pact
  • Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif said the 2015 deal is not dead

US President Donald Trump said he agreed with a comment by British Prime Minister Boris Johnson that a “Trump deal” should replace the Iran nuclear deal.

“Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, @BorisJohnson, stated, ‘We should replace the Iran deal with the Trump deal,’” Trump said in a posting on Twitter late on Tuesday. “I agree!”


Johnson, who has praised Trump as a great dealmaker, called on Tuesday for the president to replace the Iranian nuclear deal with his own new pact to ensure the Islamic Republic does not get an atomic weapon.

Meanwhile, Iran’s foreign minister said on Wednesday an existing nuclear deal the country struck with world powers was not dead and that he was unsure if any new pact agreed by Trump would last.

“The United States didn’t implement (the existing deal’s) ...commitments, now it has withdrawn... I had a US deal and the US broke it. If I have a Trump deal, how long will it last?” Mohammad Javad Zarif said at a security conference in New Delhi.

Trump’s administration abandoned the pact aimed at curbing Iran’s nuclear program in 2018 and has since reimposed economic sanctions on Tehran.

Iran is interested in diplomacy, but not in negotiating with the United States, Zarif said, adding the existing pact was among the “best deals” he could envisage.

Zarif spoke a day after Britain, France and Germany formally accused Iran of violating the terms of that agreement, a move that could eventually lead to the reimposing of UN sanctions.

He said Iran would respond to a letter sent by the three European countries and said the future of the pact, which was “not dead,” rested on Europe.

Iran denies its nuclear program is aimed at building a bomb but has gradually rolled back its commitments under the 2015 accord since the United States pulled out. It argues that Washington’s actions justify such a course.

Tensions between the two countries have risen following the US killing of Iranian military commander General Qassem Soleimani and a retaliatory missile attack by Iran on US forces in Iraq.

Zarif said Iran had sent a message to Washington through Swiss mediators on the night of the missile strike, calling it an act of self-defense in response to Soleimani’s killing.

Zarif said the commander’s death was a major setback in the fight against Daesh. Many in the region saw Soleimani as a hero for his role in defeating the militant group.


Lebanon president to chair crisis talks over weekend violence

Updated 20 January 2020

Lebanon president to chair crisis talks over weekend violence

  • The meeting will touch on “security developments” in the country
  • Lebanon has been without a government since outgoing prime minister Saad Hariri resigned on October 29

BEIRUT: Lebanon’s under-fire president is set to meet Monday with top security officials to discuss rare violence over the weekend that left hundreds wounded in the protest-hit country.

Michel Aoun will be joined by the care-taker ministers of the interior and defense as well as the chiefs of the military and security agencies in the early afternoon, his office said in a statement.

The meeting will touch on “security developments” in a country rocked since October 17 by unprecedented protests against a political class deemed incompetent, corrupt and responsible for an ever-deepening economic crisis.

It will also address “measures that need to be taken to preserve peace and stability,” the state-run National News agency (NNA) reported.

Demonstrators at the weekend lobbed stones, firecrackers and street signs at riot police, who fired tear gas and rubber bullets to clear a flashpoint road near parliament.

Over the most violent weekend in three months of street protests, some 530 were wounded on both sides, according to a toll compiled by AFP from figures provided by the Red Cross and Civil Defense.

Lawyers and rights groups have condemned the “excessive” and “brutal” use of force by security forces.

Human Rights Watch accused riot police of “launching tear gas canisters at protesters’ heads, firing rubber bullets in their eyes and attacking people at hospitals and a mosque.”

Internal Security Forces, for their part, have urged demonstrators to abstain from assaulting riot police and damaging public or private property.
Protesters had called for a week of “anger” over the political leadership’s failure to form a new government even as the debt-ridden country sinks deeper into a financial crisis.

Lebanon has been without a government since outgoing prime minister Saad Hariri resigned on October 29 in the face of popular pressure.

Political factions agreed on December 19 to appoint former education minister Hassan Diab as the new premier but have since squabbled over ministerial posts and portfolios.

Protesters have demanded a new government be comprised solely of independent experts, and exclude all established political parties.

The United Nations’ envoy to Lebanon pinned the blame for the violence on politicians.

“Anger of the people is understandable, but it is different from vandalism of political manipulators, that must be stopped,” Jan Kubis wrote on Twitter on Saturday.