UK foreign secretary pens NYT op-ed urging Trump to stay in Iran deal

UK foreign secretary pens NYT op-ed urging Trump to stay in Iran deal
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British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson on Sunday urged President TrumpDonald John TrumpDemocrats' CNN town halls exposed an extreme agenda Buttigieg says he doubts Sanders can win general election Post-Mueller, Trump has a good story to tell for 2020 MORE not to withdraw the United States from the Iran nuclear deal, arguing that the existing agreement provides the best protections against Iran developing a nuclear weapon.

Johnson wrote an opinion piece for The New York Times in which he acknowledged the 2015 agreement that gave Tehran sanctions relief in exchange for curbing its nuclear program has its disadvantages. However, he said fixing the existing pact would be more effective than starting from scratch.

"Now that these handcuffs are in place, I see no possible advantage in casting them aside. Only Iran would gain from abandoning the restrictions on its nuclear program," Johnson wrote.

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Johnson wrote that officials from France, Germany and the United Kingdom have been working to address Trump's concerns with the existing agreement.

Trump has set a May 12 deadline for European allies to agree to address the flaws he sees in the deal. The president has criticized the agreement as "terrible," arguing it goes too easy on Iran.

Johnson wrote that the signatories on the deal — including the United States, China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, Germany and the European Union — have shared concerns about Iranian aggression in the Middle East.

In addition to keeping Iran's nuclear program in check, Johnson wrote that the existing deal provides the best framework for limiting Iranian influence in the region.

"I believe that keeping the deal’s constraints on Iran’s nuclear program will also help counter Tehran’s aggressive regional behavior," Johnson wrote. "I am sure of one thing: every available alternative is worse. The wisest course would be to improve the handcuffs rather than break them."