Colonel Richard Kemp, the former head of the British Forces in Afghanistan and former International Terrorism Intelligence in the Cabinet Office, has said European leaders should not wait until Iran’s 60-day ultimatum to reinstate sanctions against the regime.

Writing in The Daily Telegraph, Colonel Kemp said the deal is “certain to fail” and said it would pave the way for Tehran to build a nuclear bomb in around 10 years’ time.

Col Kemp said: “Instead of restraining Iran, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) signed in 2015 has emboldened the ayatollahs and led to increased aggression across the region.”

“It has been building a base of operations in Syria from which to attack Israel and continues to support its terror proxies in Gaza, ordering the barrage of over 700 missiles fired last week into Israel.”

Colonel Kemp also issued a warning to European leaders saying they should immediately reinstate sanctions against Iran, as opposed to waiting  Rouhani’s deadline expires.

“How should the Europeans react to Rouhani’s ultimatum? By immediately reimposing their own sanctions against Tehran. They should not wait until his 60-day deadline expires, in case he lets it pass as with other deadlines. This would save face: it would not be in response to Trump’s demands but Rouhani’s. We can expect Tehran’s angry reaction. But it could possibly see the start of a long, hard road to achieving a new deal — one that actually achieves its objectives. The US currently remains open to that possibility.”

Kemp explained that the regime sees nuclear weapons as their divine right and will never willingly give it up. He says in reality there are only two ways to prevent a nuclear Iran.

He said,”The first is to force them to cease or at least curtail their nuclear project through economic hardship and risk of regime overthrow. A renewal of comprehensive international sanctions could achieve that. It brought them to the negotiating table in the first place and renewed US sanctions led to Rouhani’s ultimatum. Economic suffering caused, in recent months, the widest-ranging protests against the regime since the Islamic Revolution in 1979.”

If this failed, he insisted the only other way to stop Iran in its tracks is to take military action.

He said, “Of course that is not a path anyone in their right mind would want to follow. But the stakes could not be higher.”

“Iran with an intercontinental ballistic missile programme would threaten not just the region but Europe and the US. It would also give impetus to a regional nuclear arms race that is already under starters orders involving Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Turkey. And once Tehran gained nuclear weapons military action would no longer be on the cards.”

The deal was signed by Iran, the EU and P5+1, which is made up of the five permanent members of the UN security council – China, Russia, the UK, the US and France – and Germany.

Kemp says, “Despite continuing claims to the contrary the JCPOA failed to put in place a proper verification process and the International Automatic Energy Authority (IAEA) has not been able to certify Iranian compliance with the deal in any one of the three years since it was struck.”

Germany, France, Britain and the EU bought into what Kemp describes as the Obama “delusion”, eyeing trade benefits for themselves. Western governments hailed at the time as a giant step towards a “more hopeful world” but Israel called it a “historic mistake”.

When President Trump withdraw from what he called the “worst deal in history” he faced criticism from other world leaders.

“When President Trump pulled out, the Europeans had a major problem. Notwithstanding growing awareness of its shortcomings in most capitals, they couldn’t bear to be seen to do a volte face, following their nemesis Donald Trump. Britain too? Not really. With a unique closeness to US policy makers and intelligence services, our leaders knew better. But the UK has long tried to harmonise its foreign policy with the main EU countries. With Brexit negotiations and our determination to avoid disagreement in Europe, this has become a dangerous weakness.”

Read Colonel Kemp’s full opinion piece at The Daily Telegraph here