Former British prime minister Tony Blair on Monday warned that abandoning the Iran nuclear deal, as US President Donald Trump has threatened to do, would introduce an “immediate risk” of the Islamic Republic developing atomic weapons, though he said the international community needs to do more to counter the country’s ballistic missile program and efforts to achieve hegemony over the Middle East.
While the former premier did not directly call for Trump to certify the Iran deal, the timing of his remarks — amid international speculation about whether or not the US will pull out of the 2015 agreement — made it clear who was the subject of his encouragement to do the “sensible thing.”
Blair acknowledged that the nuclear deal, the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) that was signed by Iran and six global powers, was the target of considerable criticism — some of which he said was valid — in the United States and around the world, but said that for better or worse, “it is done.”
The former British premier made his remarks at the 10th annual conference of the International Luxembourg Forum on Preventing Nuclear Catastrophe, which opened on Monday morning.
The president and co-founder of the Luxembourg Forum, Viatcheslav Moshe Kantor, a Russian businessman and philanthropist, similarly voiced support for maintaining the Iran deal.
“Undoing the Iranian nuclear deal, concluded between the ‘six’ and Tehran would be unforgivable. We have to ensure that Iran fully complies with the obligations it pledged to and now the most important issue is what happens when the deal is concluded,” Kantor said.
Blair and Kantor were speaking to members of the Luxembourg Forum, which is mostly made up former officials from world governments and international organizations.
In addition to the risks posed by cancelling the Iran deal, Blair also warned of the threats posed by the nuclear-armed, “irrational” North Korea, as well as the ever-feuding Pakistan and India.
But greater still, he said, was the threat inherent in the breakdown of ties between the world’s largest nuclear superpowers: the United States and Russia.
Blair said the only way to address these nuclear concerns is through extensive efforts by both world governments and leading nuclear experts. “Facts and details matter,” he said.
William Perry, who served as US secretary of defense under president Bill Clinton, warned that the world was “recreating the conditions that could lead us to blunder into a nuclear war” and returning to the “dark days of the Cold War.”