British envoy said Trump ditched Iran deal to spite Obama: Report

President Donald Trump pulled out of the Iran nuclear pact to spite Barack Obama, according to Britain's Mail on Sunday, citing the former UK ambassador to Washington.
British Ambassador Kim Darroch speaks at an Afternoon Tea hosted by the British Embassy in 2017 to mark the U.S. Presidential Inauguration at The British Embassy in Washington, DC. The ambassador resigned on Wednesday (July 10), after leaked reports
British Ambassador Kim Darroch speaks at an Afternoon Tea hosted by the British Embassy in 2017 to mark the U.S. Presidential Inauguration at The British Embassy in Washington, DC. The ambassador resigned on Wednesday (July 10), after leaked reports in which Mr Darroch described the White House as "inept" caused major turmoil between Britain and its closest ally. PHOTO: AFP

LONDON (AFP) - Britain's ambassador to Washington believed US President Donald Trump pulled out of the Iranian nuclear deal because it was associated with his predecessor Barack Obama, leaked documents showed Saturday (July 13).

"The administration is set upon an act of diplomatic vandalism, seemingly for ideological and personality reasons -- it was Obama's deal," ambassador Kim Darroch, who resigned on Wednesday (July 10), wrote in a diplomatic cable in May 2018.

The cable was included in a second batch of leaked reports published by the Mail on Sunday newspaper, the first of which caused Mr Darroch to resign.

In May 2018, Britain's then-foreign minister Boris Johnson went to Washington to try to persuade Mr Trump not to abandon the Iran deal.

In a cable sent afterwards, Mr Darroch indicated there were divisions in Trump's team over the decision, and criticised the White House for a lack of long-term strategy.

"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," Mr Darroch wrote.

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

 
 
 
 

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

Major turmoil

In 2015, the United States, China, Britain, France, Russia and Germany signed a deal with Iran to limit its nuclear programme in exchange for a partial lifting of international economic sanctions.

Trump had long been critical of the deal and withdrew the United States on May 8, 2018.

A first batch of leaked reports authored by Mr Darroch last weekend caused major turmoil between Britain and its closest ally.

Mr Darroch was reported to have described the White House as "inept", prompting Trump to claim the ambassador was a "pompous fool" whom he would no longer deal with.

The ambassador resigned, saying it was now "impossible" to do his job.

The British government has launched an investigation into the leaks, while 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.

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