‘Let’s dial this thing down’: Boris Johnson pleads for cooling of tensions with Iran as he welcomes Tehran’s admission of ‘appalling mistake’ over Ukrainian passenger plane
- Boris Johnson has given his first major TV interview since Tory election victory
- Urged ‘dialing down’ of Iran tensions and welcomed admission on Ukraine plane
- PM grilled on issues such as Brexit and the Royals in BBC Breakfast appearance
Boris Johnson today pleaded for a ‘dialing down’ of tensions with Iran after the bitter stand-off with the US.
In his first major TV interview since the election, the PM welcomed Tehran’s admission that it made an ‘appalling mistake’ in shooting down a Ukrainian passenger plane.
He also suggested that the Iran nuclear deal – which the UK, Germany and France have been desperately trying to save in the face of US opposition – could be replaced with a ‘Trump deal’.
‘The most important thing now is that tensions in the region calm down,’ Mr Johnson said.
Mr Johnson suggested he did not see the confrontation escalating in a military way again imminently.
In his first major TV interview since the election, the PM welcomed Tehran’s admission that it made an ‘appalling mistake’ in shooting down a Ukrainian passenger plane
Mr Johnson said: ‘I’m glad the Iranians have accepted responsibility and identified it as an appalling mistake and it does appear that it was a mistake.
‘It is very important that the bodies are repatriated in a dignified way and that the families are allowed to grieve and to have closure.
‘Clearly, as President Rouhani has said, Iran made a terrible mistake. It is good they have apologised.
‘The most important thing now is that tensions in the region calm down.’
Mr Johnson said he ‘did not envisage’ any escalation in the tensions between the US and Iran.
The premier suggested that he wants a ‘Trump deal’ to replace the Iran nuclear deal that was thrashed out under Barack Obama in 2015.
The UK, Germany and France have been desperately trying to save the nuclear pact despite the US pulling out, and the soaring tensions with Tehran.
‘If we are going to get rid of it then we need a replacement,’ Mr Johnson said.
‘If we are going to get rid of it, let’s replace it and let’s replace it with the Trump deal.
‘That’s what we need to see. I think that would be a great way forward.’
The PM also defended his handling of the Iran crisis, after facing criticism for not returning from a Caribbean holiday immediately.
‘I was not in this country but I worked very hard, as you can imagine, in making sure there was a European response,’ he told the BBC. Mr Johnson said Britain had played its’traditional role’ in serving as the bridge between the ‘European powers and the United States’. He said there was no need for Britain to have been informed before the attack: ‘This was not our operation. There was no reason for us to be told.’
Ukraine says the pilots were killed immediately when the Iranian missile struck the plane just below the cockpit (the wreckage is pictured at the crash site near Tehran)
Iranian president Hassan Rouhani (pictured) has today called the shoot-down of the Boeing passenger jet an ‘unforgivable error’ and vowed to punish those responsible
Trudeau blamed the US killing of Qassem Soleimani for raising tensions in an extraordinary swipe at Donald Trump (pictured early this morning with his wife Melania)