Boris Johnson calls for end to hostilities in 20-minute phone call with Iran's president

9 January 2020, 16:25

Hassan Rouhani and Boris Johnson had a phone conversation
Hassan Rouhani and Boris Johnson had a phone conversation. Picture: PA

Boris Johnson has called for an end to hostilities in the Gulf during a 20 minute phone conversation with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.

The Prime Minister had the discussion with Hassan Rouhani on Thursday morning, Downing Street confirmed.

A Number 10 spokesman said the pair "discussed the situation in the region" following escalating tensions between Iran and the West in the wake of the assassination of Iranian general Qassem Soleimani.

They also said that Boris Johnson "underlined the UK's continued commitment" to the nuclear deal with Tehran, despite US President Donald Trump's call for the UK to break away from the arrangement.

He said the "time has come" for Britain, Germany, France, Russia and China to "break away" from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

The US president has already pulled out of the agreement, which was aimed at easing sanctions in exchange for Iran not pursuing nuclear weapons.

He also pushed for an end to the "detention and mistreatment" of jailed British-Iranian mother Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe and other dual nationals held by Tehran, and demanded their immediate release.

The assassination of General Soleimani last week led to Iran responding with a missile strike against Iraqi bases housing US troops in Iraq.

Mr Johnson has stood in solidarity with mr Trump's targeting of the Iranian general, and in a speech to Parliament on Wednesday said that Major General Soleimani "had the blood of British troops on his hands".

Boris Johnson says General Soleimain had "blood on his hands"
Boris Johnson says General Soleimain had "blood on his hands". Picture: PA

However, a senior Iranian commander has since told local media that they will "take harsher revenge soon".

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, who held talks in Washington with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, acknowledged that Iran's breaches of the JCPOA were becoming "acute".

"We want to see Iran come back to full compliance and we will be looking at all measures including potentially triggering the DRM (the deal's dispute resolution mechanism)," he said.

The Downing Street spokesman continued: "They discussed the situation in the region following the death of Qassem Soleimani and the Prime Minister called for an end to hostilities."

Following a missile barrage aimed at military bases in Iraq hosting US forces and troops from allies including the UK, Mr Trump suggested Tehran was "standing down", signalling that the two sides were stepping back from the brink of war.