May to tell Gulf, UK vigilant over Iran

UK Prime Minister Theresa May will tell a summit of Gulf leaders the nuclear agreement with Iran is “vitally important” for security, while stressing Britain remains “clear-eyed” about the threat posed by the country. “We secured a deal which has neutralised the possibility of Iran acquiring nuclear weapons for over a decade,” May will tell the Gulf Cooperation Council in Bahrain on Wednesday, according to remarks released in advance by her office. “That was vitally important for regional security. But we must also work together to push back against Iran’s aggressive regional actions, whether in Lebanon, Iraq, Yemen, Syria or in the Gulf itself.” Iran signed the deal to curb its nuclear program in exchange for the lifting of sanctions with the US, the UK and other world powers in July 2015. US President-elect Donald Trump, though, has called the accord the “worst deal ever negotiated” and plans to nominate one of its leading critics, retired Marine General James Mattis, as defense secretary. May is in Bahrain to attend the GCC summit and shore up Britain’s trade and security relations with the Gulf states. In talks with the leaders of Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman and Saudi Arabia, she will highlight Iran’s pattern of destabilising regional activity, including sending forces to Syria to shore up the Assad regime, providing support to Houthi rebels in Yemen and undermining stability in Lebanon and Iraq, the premier’s office said. On her way to Bahrain, May sought to deflect criticism she has failed to build bridges with Trump since his shock election last month. She told reporters traveling with her that whenever she has talked to the president-elect, they have discussed “the depth of our special relationship and the fact we want to maintain that and build on it for the future,” adding that “he was very easy to talk to.” (Svenja O'Donnell/Bloomberg)

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