This week the UK’s new Foreign Secretary, Liz Truss, met with her Iranian counterpart to discuss the Iran nuclear deal and urged the Iranian regime to return to full compliance.
A Foreign, Commonwealth and Development spokesperson said:
“The Foreign Secretary held her first meeting with Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian to discuss bilateral, nuclear and regional issues. She called for the release and return home of British dual national detainees. She urged Iran to return rapidly to the JCPoA negotiations in Vienna with a view to all sides coming back into compliance and reducing tensions over Iran’s nuclear programme.”
We had hoped that the UK would push Iran to renegotiate a deal and for that deal to address the failings of the original. We had hoped our government would take the threat Iran is to Israel and the region more seriously and take the opportunity to put real pressure on Tehran to halt its nuclear development and decrease its funding of terrorism.
Unfortunately, as was the case with US President Biden, we are simply hoping to return to an already failed deal that not only fails to stop Iran’s plans but actually helps to fund them.
The 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), otherwise known as the Iran nuclear deal, was supposed to stop Iran from developing a nuclear weapon. In return for Tehran downsizing their nuclear facilities and having regular checks to ensure this happened, the P5+1 (China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, the United States and Germany) would remove sanctions from Iran and instead conduct trade with the Iranian state.
The deal was disastrous from the start and heavily criticised by Israel and her supporters, including here at CUFI.
Since the deal started, Iran continued its nuclear ambitions but did so secretly. Israel stole a trove of documents that showed Iran had no intention of stopping their nuclear programme. And their expressed aim for acquiring a bomb is to use it against their enemies, namely Israel.
In 2018, President Trump ended US involvement in the deal. Despite the other five nations still being signed up to the deal, and still providing Iran with funding and sanctions relief, the dictators of Iran ramped up their nuclear ambitions. Iran stopped UN nuclear inspectors from visiting sites in violation of the terms of the agreement. Iran tested ballistic missiles again in violation of the agreement. And now Iran has now more enriched uranium than is allowed by the deal, by several times, and they have exceeded the levels needed for domestic power usage.
Iran has claimed all along that it is only trying to develop nuclear energy for civilian energy use. They are lying. Let’s be clear here, nuclear energy only requires around 10% enriched uranium. There is no other reason to enrich uranium above 20% unless you are trying to make a nuclear weapon.
This is not the first time Iran has lied. It won’t be the last time.
Instead of leading, the UK government has been toeing the line set by other nations. And unfortunately, even the US is now seemingly capitulating to Iran.
President Joe Biden addressed the United Nations General Assembly this week and on the world’s stage declared, “We are working with the P5+1 to engage Iran diplomatically and to seek a return to JCPOA. We’re prepared to return to full compliance if Iran does the same.”
The President’s words indicate that his administration’s earlier statements expressing a desire for a “longer and stronger” agreement are not reliable. And unfortunately, the UK is not willing to take a strong position either.
As Christians, we need to pray about this. Strong leadership is required by our governments but it is at the moment lacking.