Boris Johnson has tried to distance Britain from the US as Donald Trump ramped up his rhetoric against Iran after the killing of its top general.
The prime minister went against the president by pointing out the international rules of war, and supporting the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran – which the US pulled out of in 2018.
Mr Trump has threatened to target 52 Iranian sites, including ones of cultural importance, after Tehran threatened to retaliate over Friday’s killing of Major General Qassem Soleimani in a US drone strike in Baghdad.
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Iran’s foreign minister said the targeting cultural sites would constitute a war crime and likened it to Islamic State’s tactics.
The US president defended his threat and said if the Iranians were allowed to “torture and maim our people… use roadside bombs and blow up our people” then the US could target cultural sites.
However, Mr Johnson’s spokesman said the UK had a different opinion.
“There are international conventions in place which prevent the destruction of cultural heritage,” he said.
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He added that the government was urgently speaking to its allies about the nuclear deal after Iran said it would abandon limitations on its uranium enrichment.
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“Iran’s announcement is clearly extremely concerning. It is in everyone’s interests that the deal remains in place,” Mr Johnson’s spokesman said.
“It makes the world safer by taking the prospect of a nuclear-armed Iran firmly off the table.
“We have always said the nuclear deal is a reciprocal deal, and in light of Iran’s announcement we are urgently speaking to partners about next steps.”
Mr Trump later tweeted: “IRAN WILL NEVER HAVE A NUCLEAR WEAPON!”
The president has threatened to impose sanctions on Iraq after its parliament voted to expel all 5,000 US troops from the country – but the prime minister’s spokesman said the UK had no such plans.
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Defending Mr Johnson’s failure to return from his Caribbean holiday early to deal with the crisis, the spokesman said the prime minister was in contact with senior officials the entire time.
In Tehran, the supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who had a close relationship with the general, wept over the casket during Monday’s funeral.
Iranian police said more than a million people were on the streets, many sobbing loudly, as they mourned the man who guided Iran’s proxy militias abroad, ranging from Hezbollah in Lebanon to armed factions in Iraq, Syria and Yemen.
Source : Sky News