UK Foreign Minister Boris Johnson is pressing toahead of a May 12 deadline for the U.S. to formally decide whether or not to stay a part of the Obama-era nuclear agreement. Johnson appeared on both MSNBC and Fox News to urge the administration to not take drastic measures in abandoning the pact without a proper safeguard in place.
"I understand that people have anxieties about this deal and of course there right in the sense it's very far from perfect, but it's the best thing we have at the moment," Johnson told MSNBC's "Morning Joe" on Monday.
He added, "I think we can meet the president's challenge and be tougher on Iran which is what we've got to do."
Johnson argued in a New York Times op-ed Sunday, "It has weaknesses, certainly, but I am convinced they can be remedied. Indeed at this moment Britain is working alongside the Trump administration and our French and German allies to ensure that they are." For Johnson, the agreement offers the fewest disadvantages of the options available.
On Monday, he urged the U.S. not to "throw out the heart" of the deal and further risk that Iran will be able to produce a nuclear weapon.
"What we want to do now is work with other European countries, work with the U.S. to find a way to be tougher with Iran but protract the good bits of that deal," said Johnson. He said Mr. Trump was "right to see defects" in the agreement, including the deal's sunset clause which says that current restrictions on Iran's nuclear program are due expire by 2025, which critics of the deal see as allowing Iran a pathway to build a nuclear weapon.
"We need to prepare for that, we need to think now how we'll build a super structure around this deal from that happening," added Johnson of the clause.
Meanwhile on Fox News' "Fox and Friends", Johnson pushed for the U.S. and European allies to "push back on Iran together," warning of a potential arms race in the middle east without a proper deal in place.
"The president has been right to call attention to it," said Johnson of the deal needing to be stronger, adding, "But you can't do that without throwing the baby out with the bathwater."
Johnson has scheduled talks with U.S. officials in Washington this week including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Vice President Mike Pence on Monday. His trip follows visits in recent weeks by the leaders of France and who also tried to convince Mr. Trump to stick with the agreement.