Trump's "Spite" Against Obama Fuelled Iran Tanker Row, Says Former Foreign Secretary

21 July 2019, 13:22 | Updated: 21 July 2019, 13:26

Margaret Beckett tells LBC Donald Trump's "spite" against his predecessor contributed to the seizing of a British-flagged oil tanker in the Persian Gulf.

Andrew Castle cited Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn when he asked Margaret Beckett whether Donald Trump's decision to tear up the Iran nuclear deal fuelled the risk of a full-scale conflict.

The former Foreign Secretary said Mr Trump's "spite against Barack Obama seems to trump what are in the interests of America or everybody else".

"What people don't seem to remember is that this deal was not just a deal between the Iranians and the United States and Europe, Russia and China were part of this deal," she said.

The Stena Impero was seized by the Iranian authorities for "violating international maritime rules", but the ships owner, Stena Bulk, said it was in "full compliance with all navigation and international regulations."

Foreign Secretary and Tory leadership candidate Jeremy Hunt said he "expressed extreme disappointment" with the Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javed Zarif, after having been reassured Iran wanted to deescalate the situation, adding Iran had "behaved in the opposite way".

Ms Beckett said: "Part of the agreement was that Iran was subject to rigorous inspection by international bodies and they made it plain, despite a lot of pressure from the Americans, that the Iranians were keeping their side of the bargain.

"Now Mr Trump says they should have committed to more, they should have had to withdraw from a lot of the mischief they do create in the world - and that's a perfectly valid point.

"But then what you do is build on what you have achieved showing good faith in that achievement and that agreement, you don't destroy it because you say you could have done better."

The US President took America out of the nuclear deal last year after expressing his objection to the so-called 'sunset clause' which allows the country to resume part of its nuclear programme after 2025.

The UK, France and Germany have called for Mr Trump to keep the agreement in place, with then-Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson saying "only Iran would benefit" from scrapping the deal.

But leaked emails from UK ambassador Sir Kim Darroch suggested Mr Trump's decision to abandon the deal was because it was agreed by his predecessor Barack Obama.

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