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Saturday, 13 July 2019

Trump axed Iran deal to spite Obama: How the British ambassador called the President's actions 'diplomatic vandalism' fueled by 'personality reasons'

Trump axed Iran deal to spite Obama: British ambassador says Trump's actions 'diplomatic
Donald Trump (main) abandoned the Iran nuclear deal as an act of 'diplomatic vandalism' to spite his predecessor Barack Obama (inset), according to then-British Ambassador to the US, Sir Kim Darroch (left). Sir Kim, in a bombshell memo to Downing Street, said that the president abandoned the deal for 'personality reasons' and suggested there were splits among his closest advisors, including Mike Pompeo (bottom right) and Mike Pence (top right). Sir Kim's claim is the latest revelation from 

The Mail on Sunday's explosive cache of cables and briefing notes which sent shockwaves around the world and forced the ambassador's resignation last week. The shocking new revelation comes after Scotland Yard threatened to prosecute the Mail on Sunday for publishing the documents. Sir Kim's Iran memo was sent in May 2018, after Boris Johnson - who was then Foreign Secretary - had been dispatched to Washington to make a last-ditch plea to President Trump not to abandon the nuclear deal with Iran designed to prevent the regime from building an atomic bomb.


Britain’s Ambassador to Washington Sir Kim Darroch claimed that Donald Trump abandoned the Iran nuclear deal as an act of ‘diplomatic vandalism’ to spite his predecessor Barack Obama
Sir Kim said in his cables that the president abandoned the deal for 'personality reasons' and suggested there were splits among his closest advisors
Britain’s Ambassador to Washington Sir Kim Darroch claimed that Donald Trump abandoned the Iran nuclear deal as an act of ‘diplomatic vandalism’ to spite his predecessor Barack Obama
Health Secretary Matt Hancock goes further today by calling on the police to withdraw Mr Basu’s statement. Writing in this newspaper, he says: ‘The press must be free to publish what it believes to be in the public interest.
Journalists and editors should not be subjected to threats of prosecution or sanction, especially from our own police. Such threats act as a deterrent to journalists doing their jobs – and the ultimate outcome will be an erosion of accountability.’
Boris Johnson, pictured with Ivanka Trump, travelled to the US in 2018 in a doomed trip to persuade Donald Trump not to abandon the Iran deal
Boris Johnson, pictured with Ivanka Trump, travelled to the US in 2018 in a doomed trip to persuade Donald Trump not to abandon the Iran deal
He was joined by ex-Chancellor George Osborne, who described Mr Basu’s remarks as ‘very stupid and ill-advised’.
In a statement released yesterday, the Met said it had been advised that the publication of the documents could ‘constitute a criminal offence and one that carries no public interest defence’.
In other dramatic developments:
  • Spies at the Government’s ultra-secretive GCHQ were poised to join the hunt for the leaker by targeting email and mobile phone records;
  • The Queen’s former private secretary Christopher Geidt was named by Whitehall sources as a frontrunner to replace Sir Kim in Washington;
  • Tensions ramped up further between Britain and Iran with the Royal Navy’s £1 billion destroyer HMS Duncan being sent to the Persian Gulf to protect UK vessels against attack by Iranian boats.
Sir Kim’s Iran memo was sent in May 2018, after Mr Johnson – who was then Foreign Secretary – had been dispatched to Washington to make a last-ditch plea to President Trump not to abandon the nuclear deal with Iran designed to prevent the regime from building an atomic bomb.
 The Ambassador wrote that Mr Trump appeared to be abandoning the deal for ‘personality reasons’ because it had been agreed by his predecessor Barack Obama
Despite a frantic 26 hours of meetings with Trump’s closest advisers, it became clear that the President was not going to change his mind.
After Mr Johnson returned to London, Sir Kim told No 10 in a ‘diptel’ (diplomatic telegram) that Mr Trump’s Administration was ‘set upon an act of diplomatic vandalism’. The Ambassador wrote that Mr Trump appeared to be abandoning the deal for ‘personality reasons’ because it had been agreed by his predecessor Barack Obama.
Sir Kim suggested there were splits among the President’s closest advisers and said the White House lacked a ‘day-after’ strategy on what to do following withdrawal from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, as the deal was called.
This newspaper’s cache of leaked memos from Sir Kim dominated headlines on both sides of the Atlantic last week, after Trump reacted furiously to Sir Kim describing the White House as a ‘uniquely dysfunctional environment’ and ‘diplomatically clumsy and inept’.
The President called Sir Kim a ‘pompous fool’ and declared that he would no longer deal with him.

Responding to Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu’s incendiary claim that publishing the contents of the documents could be ‘a criminal matter’, Mr Johnson said prosecution ‘would amount to an infringement on press freedom and have a chilling effect on public debate’.

Mr Hunt said that he would ‘defend to the hilt the right of the press to publish those leaks if they receive them and judge them to be in the public interest’.

The ambassador suggested that Mr Trump appeared to be abandoning the Iran deal for ‘personality reasons’ because it had been agreed by his predecessor Barack Obama

The ambassador suggested that Mr Trump appeared to be abandoning the Iran deal for ‘personality reasons’ because it had been agreed by his predecessor Barack Obama
Sir Kim resigned on Wednesday shortly after Mr Johnson refused to say during a televised Tory leadership debate whether he would keep the Ambassador in his job if he became Prime Minister.
The leak infuriated the Foreign Office and No 10. Their determination to catch he, culprit, is indicated by the fact that – according to a Government source – the cyber-experts at GCHQ are about to be brought in to target a short list of suspects drawn up by civil service investigators. The spooks have far-reaching powers to intercept communications.
 Sir Kim suggested there were splits among the President’s closest advisers and said the White House lacked a ‘day-after’ strategy on what to do following withdrawal from the deal
The freedom of the press row erupted after Assistant Commissioner Basu said that Scotland Yard was investigating alleged ‘criminal breaches of the Official Secrets Act’ and warned the media that they could be committing an offence by publishing further details. He said: ‘I would advise all owners, editors and publishers of social and mainstream media not to publish leaked government documents that may already be in their possession, or which may be offered to them, and to turn them over to the police or give them back to their rightful owner, Her Majesty’s Government’.
The Met’s Counter Terrorism Command has taken charge of the investigation as it is in charge of any allegations of criminal breaches of the Official Secrets Act.
Despite vigorously shaking hands with US Secretary Mike Pompeo and giving a thumbs-up to cameras, Mr Johnson was unable to change the US president's mind
Despite vigorously shaking hands with US Secretary Mike Pompeo and giving a thumbs-up to cameras, Mr Johnson was unable to change the US president's mind 
But Mr Johnson, speaking at a Tory leadership hustings in Bedfordshire, said it could not ‘conceivably be right’ that newspapers ‘publishing such material face prosecution’.
He said: ‘In my view there is no threat to national security implied in the release of this material. It is embarrassing, but it is not a threat to national security. It is the duty of media organisations to bring new and interesting facts into the public domain. That is what they are there for. A prosecution on this basis would amount to an infringement on press freedom and have a chilling effect on public debate.’
Mr Johnson added that he disagreed with former Defence Secretary Michael Fallon – tipped as possible Foreign Secretary under Mr Johnson – for saying that the media should hand back documents to ‘their rightful owner’.
Assistant commissioner Neil Basu said he 'urged' media organisations 'not to publish' information that was leaked to them and instead hand it into the police
Assistant commissioner Neil Basu said he 'urged' media organisations 'not to publish' information that was leaked to them and instead hand it into the police
Meanwhile, Mr Hunt said: ‘These leaks damaged UK-US relations and cost a loyal Ambassador his job so the person responsible must be held fully to account. But I defend to the hilt the right of the press to publish those leaks if they receive them and judge them to be in the public interest: that is their job’.
Mr Osborne, now editor of the London Evening Standard, told Cressida Dick, the Met Commissioner, that her constabulary was in a mess and she should officially overrule Mr Basu. He said in a tweet: ‘If I were the Metropolitan Police Commissioner, and I wanted to maintain my credibility and the credibility of my force, I would quickly distance myself from this very stupid and ill-advised statement from a junior officer who doesn’t appear to understand much about press freedom.’
Tom Tugendhat, the chairman of the Commons Foreign Affairs Committee, added: ‘I doubt it is a crime to publish. The ability to have a free press is essential.’
Labour Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell said: ‘I don’t welcome the Met Police stepping in to threaten legal action against broadcasters and newspapers. If someone has committed any crime under the Official Secrets Act – individual civil servants – of course the police will investigate.’
 The Met’s Counter Terrorism Command has taken charge of the investigation as it is in charge of any allegations of criminal breaches of the Official Secrets Act
And Liberal Democrat leadership contender Ed Davey said: ‘Press freedom has never been so under attack in my lifetime. There are alarming signs of a creeping police state tearing down the ancient democratic pillar of a free press, which is essential to hold the government to account.
‘The Leader of the Opposition attacks the BBC for daring to point out his party’s anti-Semitism and the incoming Prime Minister threatens to close down Parliament, all of which adds up to an attack on our very democracy. Threatening journalists with the spectre of jail for bravely reporting the story is a disgrace.’
In response to the growing furore, Mr Basu released a further statement yesterday in which he said that the police ‘respect the rights of the media and has no intention of seeking to prevent editors from publishing stories in the public interest in a liberal democracy. 
'The media hold an important role in scrutinising the actions of the State’. However, he stoked suspicions that the force had come under political pressure by adding: ‘We have received legal advice that has caused us to start a criminal enquiry into the leak of these specific documents as a potential breach of the Official Secrets Act. The focus of the investigation is clearly on identifying who was responsible for the leak.

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