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US urges the EU to take a tougher stance on Iran and says ‘it is time to act’

US urges the EU to take a tougher stance on Iran and says ‘it is time to act… and bring them back to the table’ as tensions rise over oil tanker seizure 

  • US ambassador to EU has urged European nations to take tougher stance on Iran
  • Gordon Sondland said Europe should join the US in condemning Iran’s actions  
  • Britain’s Foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt will meet other foreign leaders in Brussels for nuclear deal crisis talks today

The US has urged European allies to take a tougher stance on Iran as EU foreign ministers gather in Brussels.

US ambassador to the EU Gordon Sondland urged European countries to bring Iran ‘back to the table’, and join the US in condemning the country’s actions. 

Foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt is travelling to Brussels today to meet other EU foreign leaders for crisis talks on the Iran nuclear deal, fearing it could be close to collapse. 

Tensions have been high following the seizure of the Grace 1 Iranian supertanker off the coast of Gibraltar. The vessel was detained on suspicion of breaching EU sanctions against Syria. 

In apparent retaliation, Iranian paramilitary vessels later tried to impede the passage of a British oil tanker through the Strait of Hormuz last week. 

The US has urged European allies to take a tougher stance on Iran as EU foreign ministers gather for crisis talks on salvaging the Iran Nuclear Deal in Brussels (Pictured: Seized oil supertanker Grace 1)

Tensions have been high following the seizure of the Grace 1 Iranian supertanker off the coast of Gibraltar (Pictured: A British Royal Navy patrol vessel guards seized oil supertanker Grace 1)

Tensions have been high following the seizure of the Grace 1 Iranian supertanker off the coast of Gibraltar (Pictured: A British Royal Navy patrol vessel guards seized oil supertanker Grace 1)

US ambassador to the EU Gordon Sondland (pictured) urged EU countries to bring Iran back to the negotiating table, saying: ''I think it's time to act, and by acting, I mean that our European friends should join the US in unequivocally condemning Iran's actions with respect to their malign activities'

US ambassador to the EU Gordon Sondland (pictured) urged EU countries to bring Iran back to the negotiating table, saying: ”I think it’s time to act, and by acting, I mean that our European friends should join the US in unequivocally condemning Iran’s actions with respect to their malign activities’

Britain has since accelerated the dispatch of the destroyer HMS Duncan to relieve the HMS Montrose, the frigate operating in the Persian Gulf that warned away the Iranian vessels. 

Gordon Sondland, the US ambassador to the EU, said: ‘I think that the time for reflection is over. 

‘I think it’s time to act, and by acting, I mean that our European friends should join the US in unequivocally condemning Iran’s actions with respect to their malign activities, not just in the Strait of Hormuz but throughout the world, and bring them back to the table to discuss a comprehensive negotiation over all of their activities including currently being the world’s lead state sponsor of terror, plotting attacks in Europe, their missile development programme and their general Middle East aggression.’

On BBC Radio 4’s Today programme he dismissed as ‘complete nonsense’ an assessment by Sir Kim Darroch that Donald Trump decided to pull out of the Iran nuclear deal in an act of spite because it was agreed by his predecessor Barack Obama.

Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt (pictured) said on Twitter he wanted to reduce tensions over the seizure of the Grace 1 supertanker, but hinted that Iran would face consequences if it did not abide by the terms of the nuclear deal

Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt (pictured) said on Twitter he wanted to reduce tensions over the seizure of the Grace 1 supertanker, but hinted that Iran would face consequences if it did not abide by the terms of the nuclear deal

Sir Kim resigned as UK ambassador to Washington after his sensitive diplomatic dispatches were leaked and Mr Sondland said Mr Trump’s approach to the Iran deal had been ‘very, very thoughtful’.

Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said on Twitter he wanted to reduce tensions over the seizure of the Grace 1 supertanker, but hinted that Iran would face consequences if it did not abide by the terms of the nuclear deal.

He said: ‘Heading to Brussels for urgent talks on how to reduce tensions with Iran.

‘Their approach to Mid East has been profoundly destabilising but we want to reduce not raise tensions over Grace 1 and avoid a nuclearised region.

‘But a deal is a deal and if one side breaches it…’

In a statement released on Sunday, Britain, France and Germany reiterated their commitment to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

 



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