September 23, 2019 / 5:56 PM / 23 days ago

UPDATE 1-Trump upbeat on Johnson's idea of new Iran deal

(Adds Trump quotes, background, paragraphs 2-6)

NEW YORK , Sept 23 (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump responded positively to British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s idea of creating a new nuclear deal with Iran, saying that he respected Johnson and was not surprised he had floated the idea.

“He does want a new deal because the other deal was ready to expire - very short number of years left,” Trump said, referring to the 2015 nuclear deal that Iran struck with major powers and that the U.S. president abandoned last year.

Under that agreement, Iran committed to limit its nuclear program in return for relief from U.S. and other sanctions that had crippled its economy.

Trump reimposed U.S. sanctions last year. In May, he tightened them further and sought to drive Iranian oil exports to zero. He has criticized the earlier deal, negotiated under then-U.S. President Barack Obama, for “sunset” clauses under which some of its provisions expired as well as for its failure to address Iran’s missile program and regional activities.

“I respect Boris a lot and I am not surprised at all that he was the first one to come out and say that,” Trump said of Johnson’s comment that “whatever your objections to the old nuclear deal with Iran, it’s time now to move forward and do a new deal.”

In fact, others including French President Emmanuel Macron., have spoken about the possibility of a new deal with Iran for more than a year. (Reporting Steve Holland; writing by Arshad Mohammed; editing by Grant McCool and Jonathan Oatis)

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