UK’s Hunt: Iran actions ‘profoundly destabilizing’, but we want reduced tensions

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British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said on Monday that Iran’s actions were “profoundly destabilizing” but said he wanted to reduce tensions in the Middle East, ahead of talks with his EU counterparts, adding that a joint commission on Iran breaches “will happen very soon.”

“Heading to Brussels for urgent talks on how to reduce tensions with Iran,” Hunt tweeted.

He added, “Their approach to Mid-East has been profoundly destabilizing but we want to reduce not raise tensions over Grace 1 and avoid a nuclearized region. But a deal is a deal and if one side breaches it...”

Hunt also said that there was still time to save the Iran nuclear deal and that despite the United States being Britain’s closest ally it disagreed on how to handle the Iran crisis.

“Iran is still a good year away from developing a nuclear bomb. There is still some closing, but small window to keep the deal alive,” Hunt told reporters on arrival for a foreign ministers’ meeting in Brussels, adding that the Iran deal is not dead, and that they’re looking to find a way to “preserve it.”

A joint commission on Iran breaches “will happen very soon,” Hunt added.

European Union foreign ministers are meeting to discuss the 2015 deal over Iran’s nuclear programme, as tensions further intensify between Tehran and the United States.

Washington has pulled out of the deal, to the dismay of its European allies who also signed the accord.

Angered that its beleaguered economy is not receiving sanctions relief it believes was promised under the deal, Iran has intensified its sensitive uranium enrichment work, prompting warnings from Washington.

Britain was drawn into the row when officials in its tiny territory of Gibraltar seized an Iranian oil tanker, “Grace One”, earlier this month.

US officials believe the tanker was destined for Syria to deliver oil, in violation of sanctions, but Tehran reacted with anger.

In a phone call with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Saturday, Hunt said the tanker would be released following guarantees on its destination.

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