Iran deal 'fixes' to dominate Tillerson's agenda in Europe

Pauline Gross
January 23, 2018

Tillerson made the trip to the new embassy in Nine Elms, where he was met by USA ambassador Woody Johnson although a formal meet-and-greet of staff was cancelled due to the U.S. government shutdown.

Mr Johnson echoed Mr Tillerson's support for the special relationship.

He also said that a USA team will be traveling to Europe for this goal and also to discuss Iran's "activities" in the Middle East. But Trump's budget director says the White House is taking the president's participation at that meeting, as well as the planned attendance of much of his Cabinet in Davos, "on a day-by day basis" because of the government shutdown.

"We will be discussing that through working groups beginning as early as next week and we will see what progress we can make", he said after meeting with the British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson.

Their meeting takes place amid reports that the president is unhappy after the Prime Minister publicly criticised him previous year for retweeting inflammatory videos posted by the far-right Britain First group.

Asked when there would be a ribbon cutting ceremony, Ambassador Johnson said: "At some point we're going to do it, but there's no urgency to that".

"As you know, we really emphasize close coordination with the British in particular and the French in our efforts to close the gaps in [the agreement] and in [the] next steps on how we curtail Iranian malign influence in the region", a State Department official told reporters on January 19.

A pillar of Britain's foreign policy for a century, the special relationship with Washington has taken on added importance as Britain prepares to leave the European Union in 2019.

Known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the deal was forged in 2015 between Iran and the United States, the UK, France, China, Russia, and Germany in a landmark bid to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons. The invitation was accepted, but no date for the visit has been set.

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"We recognize and fully appreciate Turkey's legitimate right to protect its own citizens from terrorist elements", he said.

In Europe, Iran is expected to dominate Tillerson's talks in Britain and France, the first two stops, before he heads to Switzerland and Poland.

'We treasure this relationship.

'We spend a lot of time talking about the world's problems.

As part of his United Kingdom visit, Tillerson met Theresa May in Downing Street, a spokesman for the prime minister said.

Johnson described the relationship as "absolutely fundamental" to Britain's economy. "I treasure Boris' relationship with me personally", he said.

'They discussed the continuing depth and breadth of the special relationship.

State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert told a news briefing on Thursday no "ribbon-cutting ceremony" by Tillerson was now scheduled during his January 21-23 London visit before the World Economic forum in Davos.

'They agreed on the importance of the worldwide community coming together to counter Iran's destabilising regional activity, and the Prime Minister reiterated the UK's commitment to the Iran nuclear deal'.

Other reports by GizPress

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