Monday, 28 May, 2018

Atomic agency leader warns of disaster if Trump tears up Iran deal

Hans Blix, the former head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, has claimed it would be disastrous for the world if the US tore up the Iran nuclear agreement, but warned that the president-elect, Donald Trump, would be unlikely to heed advice from the British government on the benefits of the deal.

In the wake of Theresa May’s insistence last week that the agreement “neutralising” the risk of Iran acquiring nuclear weapons was vital, Blix said that while “many Brits would like to think” they could sway Trump, he could not see “anyone who would be influential in talking to him”.

“The special relationship, the old brotherhood? I don’t know whether he would be open to such things”, Blix told the Observer at the International Luxembourg Forum on Preventing Nuclear Catastrophe held in London. “Maybe the Brits will talk about the golf course in Scotland? I think he is not a very international figure but I can’t indicate anyone who would be influential in talking to him.”

Trump has threatened to scrap the nuclear deal, signed by six major powers including Britain, in which Iran agreed to scale down its nuclear aspirations in exchange for sanctions relief.

During the presidential campaign, Trump told supporters that his main foreign policy objective was to “dismantle the disastrous deal with Iran”.

However, in a speech last week the British prime minister underlined her belief in the importance of the 2015 agreement: “We secured a deal that has neutralised the possibility of Iran acquiring nuclear weapons for more than a decade”.

Britain along with France, Germany, Russia and China, has resumed trade relations with Iran since sanctions were lifted. Blix said he believed that the solidarity of the EU signatories could be an important influence.

He said: “I think the signs from the EU are pretty categorical. It is an agreement reached multilaterally and they will stand by it. I don’t think the Europeans would allow any American attempt to tear it apart.

“On the US side they should realise that if they unilaterally decided to reintroduce sanctions they might not be able to bring the others along. It will be messy. And in that situation the Americans may think twice.”

Vladimir Dvorkin, chairman of the organising committee of the Luxembourg Forum, said, “We would hope that the new US administration would be able to reverse the negative trends and start discussions, including on nuclear security. In the last ten years, the threat of nuclear catastrophe has not weakened.

“Work has been suspended on agreements. It is a shame to lose such agreements and we all hope dialogue will be resumed.”

Source: The Guardian

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