April 25, 2018 / 12:40 PM / 8 months ago

Britain says working closely with allies on new Iran measures

FILE PHOTO: Iranian President Hassan Rouhani attends a meeting with Muslim leaders and scholars in Hyderabad, India, February 15, 2018. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui/File Photo

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain is working closely with allies to address issues relating to Iran, a government spokesman said on Wednesday, giving British backing to French President Emmanuel Macron’s talks with U.S. President Donald Trump.

Macron said on Wednesday he spoke to Trump about a “new deal” in which the United States and Europe would tackle outstanding concerns about Iran beyond its nuclear programme.

“We are working closely with our allies on how to address the range of challenges Iran poses in the Middle East, including those issues that President Macron proposed a new deal might cover,” the spokesman said.

The comments come as a deadline looms next month for Trump to decide on restoring U.S. economic sanctions on Tehran. He has criticised a 2015 agreement which effectively lifted some western sanctions on Iran in exchange for curbs on its nuclear programme.

However, Britain and its European allies France and Germany argue that the so-called Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action is working and are seeking ways to address Trump’s concerns about Iran’s wider activity without ditching the nuclear deal.

“The nuclear deal was a product of 13 years of tireless diplomacy and is working,” the spokesman said.

“At the same time we recognise there are things that the deal does not cover but which we need to address including ballistic missiles, what happens when the deal expires and Iran’s destabilising regional activity.”

Under Macron’s proposal, the United States and Europe would agree to block any Iranian nuclear activity until 2025 and beyond, address Iran’s ballistic missile programme and generate conditions for a political solution to contain Iran in Yemen, Syria, Iraq and Lebanon.

Reporting By William James. Editing by Andrew MacAskill and Angus MacSwan

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