British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said Wednesday that Iran pulling out from some of its commitments under a nuclear deal signed in 2015 is an “unwelcome step".
Speaking at a news conference after meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in London, Hunt said the two countries have a different approach on how to ensure that “Iran must never be able to require a nuclear weapon.”
“I urge Iran not to take further escalatory steps and to stand by its commitments,” Hunt said.
Hunt added that the sanctions were lifted in return for restrictions on Iran’s nuclear program but if Iran ceases to observe its nuclear commitments, there would be consequences.
Pompeo said the letter sent by Iran today partially pulling out from its commitments was “intentionally ambiguous".
He said the U.S. is watching Iran’s activity and that Washington and its European partners will move forward together.
Pompeo added that he is confident there will be “no pathway” for Iran to acquire nuclear weapon systems.
Iran's President Hassan Rouhani on Wednesday threatened to resume high-level enrichment of uranium if his country’s interests in the nuclear deal with world powers are not protected within 60 days.
Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif reiterated Rouhani’s statement at a news conference in the Russian capital Moscow, but added that if European participants in the nuclear deal fulfill their obligations, Iran will guarantee the future of the agreement.
Last year, U.S. President Donald Trump withdrew his country from a landmark 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and the P5+1 group of nations (the five permanent UN Security Council members plus Germany).
During his one-day visit to the British capital, Pompeo also met Prime Minister Theresa May and faith leaders.
British and U.S. officials discussed a wide range of issues, including China, Yemen, Syria, and Venezuela.
Pompeo said they also discussed British plans to include Chinese telecom Huawei in its 5G network, an issue where Britain and the U.S. have been at odds.
"We discussed at some length the importance of secure 5G networks," Pompeo said.
"But I’m confident that each of our two nations will choose a path which will ensure security of our networks," he added.
Pompeo further said: "I have great confidence that the United Kingdom will never take an action that will break the special relationship.
"With respect to 5G, we will continue to have technical discussions. We are making our views very well known from America’s perspective.
"Each country has a sovereign right to make its own decision about how to deal with the challenge.
"The United States has an obligation to ensure that, places where we operate, places where American information is, places where we have our national security risks, that they operate inside trusted networks. And that’s what we will do."
He said he is confident that nothing will happen that will undermine the special relationship between the U.S. and U.K.
Hunt said the U.K. has not made "our final decisions in government."
He added: "We are considering the evidence very carefully, but we would never take a decision that compromised our ability to share intelligence with our five eyes colleagues [the U.S., Canada, Australia and New Zealand], in particular the United States.
"And we are absolutely clear that the security relationship that we have with the United States is what has underpinned the international order since 1945 and has led to unparalleled peace and prosperity. And the preservation of that is our number one foreign policy priority."
Pompeo also said it is “disgusting” to see leaders, not only in the U.K. but in the U.S., who continue to support Nicholas Maduro, the Venezuelan president.
"It is not in either of our country’s best interests for those leaders to continue to advocate on their behalf," he said.
"The Venezuelan people have spoken through their constitutional mechanism. They have put Juan Guaido as their interim president, and he is the duly elected leader there. And Maduro is on borrowed."
Venezuela has been rocked by protests since January, when Maduro was sworn in for a second term following a vote boycotted by the opposition.
Tensions escalated when Juan Guaido, who heads Venezuela’s National Assembly, declared himself acting president days later, a move supported by the U.S. and many European and Latin American countries.
Russia, Turkey, China, Iran, Bolivia and Mexico have thrown their weight behind Maduro.