politics

U.K.'s Johnson Travels to Iran for Talks on Nuclear Deal, Yemen

  • Britain fighting to keep nuclear deal with Islamic republic
  • Foreign secretary to also visit Oma, Abu Dhabi on trip
Boris Johnson Photographer: Chris J. Ratcliffe/Bloomberg

U.K. Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson will travel to Iran on Saturday to discuss the international deal reigning in the Islamic republic’s nuclear activities and the conflict in Yemen.

"This is the first visit of the foreign secretary to Iran and we expect talks to cover a wide range of issues from the bilateral relationship to regional security," the Foreign and Commonwealth Office said Friday in an emailed statement.

Johnson’s visit, during which he’ll meet counterpart Javad Zarif, is the first by a British foreign secretary to Iran since 2015 and only the third since 2003. The U.K. is fighting to maintain the nuclear deal in the face of criticism from U.S. President Donald Trump that it’s “one of the worst and most one-sided transactions the United States has ever entered into.”

Johnson also will raise "concerns about a number of consular cases involving dual nationals and press for their release on humanitarian grounds," according to the statement. "The foreign secretary will urge the Iranians to release dual nationals where there are humanitarian grounds to do so."

While the Foreign Office didn’t specify which cases, Johnson last month was forced to apologize after saying Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, a British woman jailed in Iran, was training reporters. Iranian state television said the comment was an "unintended admission" of her guilt. Her family and the government say she was on vacation with her daughter visiting relatives.

On either side of his trip to Iran, Johnson will visit the Omani capital Muscat on Friday and Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates on Sunday.

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