Mr Johnson has indicated that he will be looking to strengthen his relationship with the US President Mr Trump now that the UK has officially left the EU. Mr Trump reciprocated, declaring that the two countries could make a deal which “has the potential to be far bigger and more lucrative” than any EU agreement when Mr Johnson secured his parliamentary majority in December. However, the US President has recently caused a stir in the Middle East when he ordered a deadly drone strike on the military commander Qassem Soleimani, one of the most powerful men in the region.
The simmering discontent between the US and Iran has led many to question how Mr Johnson would react if the conflict escalated.
Former diplomat and editor at Iran International Hossein Rassam told Express.co.uk last week that Mr Johnson would only take the UK into a conflict against Iran if British forces were directly attacked.
He said: “The UK itself would pretty much try to stay out of the conflict – unless its troops come under attack by the Iranian forces.
“The UK has a few bases in the region, so if they come under attack then it would react.
“[However] in a sudden an outbreak in confrontation in Iran, or in confrontation between Iran and the US, I think the UK would measure ramifications and consequences very very carefully before committing to a military partnership with the US.”
As the former chief political analyst for the British Embassy in Tehran, Mr Rassam added how even its commitments to NATO would not necessarily drag the UK into a battle in the Middle East.
He explained: “Although the US did not take its case to Brussels to NATO, its base in Iraq was attacked by Iran and we did not see a reaction from neither the US nor NATO.”
He implied Mr Johnson would take his NATO allies’ lead on how to act.
Mr Rassam continued: “In the unlikely scenario that the US and Iran engage militarily, as a member of NATO I think yes, the UK would react as others do.”
Yet, he pointed out even in the Iraq war of 2003 the US relied on allies instead of NATO.
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Mr Johnson’s reaction in the wake of the back-and-forth between Iran and the UK last month should also be noted.
He said: “The most important thing now is that tensions in the region calm down.
“I don’t want a military conflict between us, and the US and Iran.
“Let’s dial this thing down.”
Yet he showed support for Mr Trump during the BBC interview too by acknowledging the failure of the Iran nuclear deal, otherwise known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
The Prime Minister explained: “If we are going to get rid of it, let’s replace it and let’s replace it with the Trump Deal.
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“That’s what we need to see and I think that would be a great way forward.
“President Trump is a great dealmaker… Let’s work together to replace the JCPOA and get the Trump Deal instead.”
However, his comments raised a few eyebrows at the time as Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab claimed the UK and its European allies were still “committed to the deal”.
Crucially, Mr Trump did not tell Mr Johnson about his attack on Soleimani beforehand, which called into question the special relationship between the UK and the US.
Still, as Conservative MP Richard Holden claimed this week, the UK is “striking the right balance” in its stance over the US-Iran conflict and “that’s the most important thing”.
He said: “The most important thing is playing the honest broker. Us working with France and Germany have managed to do that.
“We don’t want to push the Iranians into a corner, but equally we don’t want to allow them to do whatever they want.”
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