Britain’s Hunt says ‘small window’ to save Iran nuclear deal


FILE PHOTO: Jeremy Hunt, a leadership candidate for Britain’s Conservative Party, attends a hustings event in Wyboston, Britain July 13, 2019. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls/File Photo

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said on Monday that there was still time to save the Iran nuclear deal and that despite the United States being Britain’s closest ally it disagreed on how to handle the Iran crisis.

“Iran is still a good year away from developing a nuclear bomb. There is still some closing, but small window to keep the deal alive,” Hunt told reporters on arrival for a foreign ministers’ meeting in Brussels.

The Brussels meeting will seek to flesh out how to convince Iran and the United States to reduce tensions and initiate a dialogue amid fears that the 2015 deal is close to collapse.

U.S.-Iranian tensions have worsened since U.S. President Donald Trump decided last year to abandon the nuclear deal under which Iran agreed to curtail its atomic program in return for relief from economic sanctions crippling its economy.

In reaction to the re-imposition of tough U.S. sanctions, which have notably targeted Iran’s main oil revenue stream, Tehran has scaled back on some of its nuclear commitments under the deal, leading the European parties to the pact, France, Britain and Germany, to warn it about not fully complying with the terms.

The three powers, who are party to the deal alongside Russia and China, have sought to defuse the tensions, which culminated in a plan for U.S. air strikes on Iran last month that Trump called off at the last minute.

Reporting by John Irish and Daphne Psaledakis, Editing by William Maclean

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