Boris Johnson urges Iran president to end military action
LONDON (Web Desk) – UK Prime Minister (PM) Boris Johnson has urged Iranian President Hassan Rouhani to end military retaliation in the region, amid efforts to try to de-escalate the crisis sparked by the US killing of the senior Iranian general Qassem Suleimani.
According to Downing Street spokesman, Johnson held a phone call lasting 20 minutes with Rouhani on Thursday and reaffirmed UK support for the international deal with Iran over nuclear capabilities, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA.
“They discussed the situation in the region following the death of Qassem Suleimani and the prime minister called for an end to hostilities,” he said.
“The prime minister underlined the UK commitment to the JCPOA and to ongoing dialogue to avoid nuclear proliferation and reduce tension. He raised the continued detention and mistreatment of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe and other dual nationals in Iran, and called for their immediate release.”
Johnson has sought to largely back Donald Trump over his decision to approve the killing of Suleimani in a drone-launched rocket attack as he left Baghdad airport, which Labour has warned does not appear justified under international law.
But according to the Iranian news agency ISNA, Rouhani told Johnson that the streets of London were safer because of Suleimani’s efforts to defeat Isis. “You would not be comfortable in London today but for Suleimani’s efforts,” he was reported as saying.
Underlining the gulf between Britain and Iran over Suleimani’s role, Rouhani told Johnson that he had worked with Suleimani for 40 years, and the picture portrayed of him in the west bore no relationship to reality.
He also said the Iranian attack on coalition bases in Iraq in response to the assassination of Suleimani was proportionate and legitimate under article 5 of the UN charter, the same basis on which the US justified its initial attack.
He also told Johnson that if the US repeated its attack, America would receive a very dangerous response, claiming the White House simply had no understanding of the region.