Trump ditched Iran deal to spite Obama: report

Trump ditched Iran deal to spite Obama: report
3 min read
14 July, 2019
US President Donald Trump pulled out of Barack Obama's landmark nuclear deal with Iran.
Trump pulled out of the nuclear deal last year [Getty]

The UK's ambassador to the US claimed President Donald embarked on an act of "diplomatic vandalism", when he pulled out of a nuclear deal with Iran, which had been agreed by his predecessor Barack Obama.

Another trove of leaked documents published Saturday, saw Ambassador Kim Darroch allegedly claim in diplomatic cables that Trump pulled-out of the nuclear deal with Iran to spite Obama.

"The administration is set upon an act of diplomatic vandalism, seemingly for ideological and personality reasons - it was Obama's deal," ambassador Kim Darroch wrote in a diplomatic cable in May 2018.

The first batch of diplomatic cables released last week saw the ambassador give a damning assessment of Trump's presidency.

The ambassador reportedly referred to the Trump administration as "inept", prompting the president to call Darroch a "pompous fool" whom he would no longer deal with.

The unique situation led Darroch to resign saying it was "impossible" to continue his job.

His resignation came after harsh public criticism of Darroch by Trump over his assessment in the leaks, which have caused a scandal in the UK.

The Sunday Times reported that a government investigation into the matter had identified a civil servant as the person responsible for the leaks.

The National Cyber Security Centre, part of spy agency GCHQ, and MI6, the probe has identified a suspect who had access to historical Foreign Office files, the paper said.

British police are also looking into a potential breach of the Official Secrets Act.

London's Metropolitan Police sparked widespread condemnation on Saturday after a warning to journalists that publishing leaked documents could be a criminal matter.

The UK's former Foreign Minister Boris Johnson - and prime minister hopeful - in May 2018 flew into Washington to try to persuade Trump not to abandon the Iran deal.

In a cable sent afterwards, Darroch hinted a divisions in Trump's team over the decision to pull out of the Iran deal.

"They can't articulate any 'day-after' strategy; and contacts with State Department this morning suggest no sort of plan for reaching out to partners and allies, whether in Europe or the region," he wrote.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, during his talks with Johnson, "did some subtle distancing by talking throughout about 'the President's decision'".

According to Darroch, Pompeo also hinted that he had tried but failed to "sell" a revised text to Trump, according to the newspaper.

The deal by the US, China, UK, France, Russia and Germany with Iran in 2015 saw Tehran restrict its nuclear programme in exchange for a partial lifting of international economic sanctions.

Trump had long been critical of the deal and withdrew the US on 8 May 2018, launching a series of hard-hitting sanctions on Iran.

Johnson, who is now in the race to succeed May as prime minister, said that prosecuting media outlets would have a "chilling effect on public debate".