Iraqi PM to visit Iran, Turkey as US sanctions bite

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi headed a meeting of the Ministerial Council of the National Security in Baghdad on Sunday to discuss the security situation, combating the terrorists' sleeper cells, and strengthening intelligence efforts to eradicate terror, a statement from the Prime Minister's Media Office (PMO) said.

Ambassador Woody Johnson cautioned there would be trade consequences for Britain, which he described as the closest USA ally, unless it breaks with the European Union and follows Trump in re-imposing sanctions on Tehran.

Iran had also warned previous year that it enjoyed the capability to restore its uranium enrichment operations and even develop its capacity to 100,000 SWUs (Separative Work Units) if the nuclear deal with the world powers failed as a result of the United States non-compliance with its undertakings.

On Tuesday, the US had re-imposed the first round of economic sanctions on Iran, which mainly target the country's banking sector.

Reiterating a threat made by his boss, US President Donald Trump, on Tuesday, Johnson added that: "The President has been explicit: any businesses that put their commercial interests in Iran ahead of the global good will risk serious consequences for their trade with the US".

He added, "America is turning up the pressure and we want the United Kingdom by our side".

It saw the regime agree to curb its nuclear programme in return for the lifting of sanctions.

"We don't support the sanctions because they are a strategic error, but we will comply with them", said Abadi, whose country is an ally of both Tehran and Washington.

Burt said the deal was an important part of regional security and that, with the European Union, the government was trying to protect British companies from the USA sanctions when dealing with Iran. Trump has described the 2015 nuclear deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), as a "horrible, one sided" agreement.

Since then, Britain, France and Germany have sought to keep the deal alive, while Trump has prepared new sanctions, saying a broader and more balanced deal is needed.

  • Jon Douglas