UK envoy said Trump ditched Iran nuclear deal to spite Obama: Report
Britain's ambassador to Washington said US President Donald Trump pulled out of the Iranian nuclear deal because it was associated with his predecessor, Barack Obama, leaked documents showed on Saturday, according to AFP, citing a British newspaper.
"The administration is set upon an act of diplomatic vandalism, seemingly for ideological and personality reasons - it was Obama's deal," ambassador Kim Darroch 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 Darroch to resign earlier this week.
In May 2018, Britain's then-foreign minister Boris Johnson went to Washington to try to persuade Trump not to abandon the Iran deal.
In a cable sent afterwards, 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," Darroch wrote.
He reported back that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, during his talks with Johnson, "did some subtle distancing by talking throughout about 'the president’s decision'."
The newspaper reported that, according to Darroch, Pompeo also hinted that he had tried but failed to "sell" a revised text to Trump.
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 8 May 2018.
Earlier this week, Trump said the US will "substantially" increase sanctions on the Iranian government in the latest escalation in his administration's "maximum pressure campaign" against the country.
In a tweet on Wednesday, the US president also accused Iran of "secretly" enriching uranium, in violation of the 2015 Iranian nuclear deal that the US pulled out of last year.
"Iran has long been secretly 'enriching,' in total violation of the terrible 150 Billion Dollar deal made by John Kerry and the Obama Administration," Trump wrote. He provided no evidence to back up that assertion.
A first batch of leaked reports authored by Darroch last weekend caused major turmoil between Britain and its closest ally.
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 deals with.
The ambassador resigned on Wednesday, 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.
Reuters reported that a suspect behind the leak of confidential memos has been identified, according to the Sunday Times newspaper, citing unidentified government sources.
"They think they know who did the leaking," a government source told the paper. "It's now a case of building a case that will stand up in court. It was someone with access to historical files. They went in and grabbed a range of material. It was quite crude."