Sep 23, 2019

Boris Johnson: Trump is the "one guy" to broker new Iran nuclear deal

In an interview with NBC Nightly News airing Monday evening, U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson said his government is "virtually certain" Iran is behind the recent Saudi oil attacks and called for a new Iran nuclear deal brokered by President Trump.

What they're saying:

NBC's LESTER HOLT: Are you now 100% lockstep with the United States in the belief that Iran was behind the drone attack in Saudi Arabia?
JOHNSON: We are virtually certain that it was from Iran. I mean, there were, as you know, both UAVs and cruise missiles involved, and we have no other workable hypothesis for how that happened. So that presents the world with a very difficult scenario, a very difficult position: How do we respond?

The big picture: In 2018, Trump withdrew the U.S. from the Iran deal negotiated by the Obama administration and 4 other members of the UN Security Council (plus Germany) that required Iran to reduce its nuclear capacities in exchange for lifting economic sanctions.

  • Johnson's remarks come after the Trump administration blamed Iran for an attack on Saudi oil earlier this month. Trump has not yet publicly stated whether the U.S. will take military action against Iran in response to the attack.

On the Iran deal, Johnson said he wants a new arrangement, stating: "I think there's one guy who can do a better deal ... and that is the president of the United States. I hope there will be a Trump deal."

But, but, but: Johnson did attempt to distance himself from Trump in some respects, saying he finds comparisons of the 2 blond leaders "peculiar," adding: "I come from a tradition that believes in free markets, free trade, all sorts of things that I hope would be shared by the president of the United States."

  • The prime minister did note that he considers himself most different from Trump "when it comes to Twitter."
  • "I don't do as many tweets as the president does. I'm not a master of that medium," Johnson said.

Go deeper: Trump's anti-Iran strategy is facing its greatest test

Go deeper

Pompeo doubles down on claim of Iranian "act of war" in Saudi Arabia

Pompeo this week at the UN. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo declared today that he had been right to label attacks on Saudi oil facilities an “act of war” by Iran, but said Iran would fail to “goad us into conflict.”

The big picture: The U.K., France and Germany accused Iran yesterday of responsibility for the Sept. 14 attacks. Iran has denied responsibility for the attacks in Saudi Arabia, accused the U.S. of “deception" and warned of "all-out war" if attacked.

Go deeperArrowSep 25, 2019

Iran tests U.S. military messaging at UNGA

Iran Foreign Minister Javad Zarif in Istanbul in 2017. Photo: Ozan Kose/AFP/Getty Images

Iran's Foreign Minister Javad Zarif tells Axios that Americans should ask themselves why U.S. soldiers should risk dying to protect Israeli and Saudi interests, and he thinks President Donald Trump is "determined not to get militarily involved" in Iran — but others in his orbit are trying to "drag him into" it.

The big picture: As leaders gather this week at the United Nations General Assembly, Iran and the U.S. are trying to figure out how to out-maneuver one another in a protracted dispute over the Iran nuclear deal, regional aggression, sanctions and oil sales.

Go deeperArrowSep 23, 2019

U.S. hits Iran with cyberattack following Saudi oil bombings

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The U.S. has allegedly carried out another cyberattack against Iran in the wake of attacks on Saudi oil facilities in September, two unnamed U.S. officials told Reuters.

Why it matters, per Axios' Joe Uchill: This is the second publicly revealed round of cyberattacks in response to real world attacks, after U.S. Cyber Command targeted Iran following the downing of a U.S. drone in July. The U.S. and many of its allies have blamed Iran for the Saudi oil attacks, but Iran has vigorously denied the allegations.

Go deeperArrowOct 16, 2019