August 31, 2018 / 1:17 PM / 3 months ago

UK minister visits Iran for first time since Trump quit nuclear deal

Alistair Birt arrives at 10 Downing Street as Britain's re-elected Prime Minister David Cameron names his new cabinet, in central London, Britain May 11, 2015. REUTERS/Neil Hall/Files

LONDON (Reuters) - A junior British minister will arrive in Tehran on Friday to discuss the future of Iran’s international nuclear deal, in the first visit to the country by a UK minister since U.S. President Donald Trump withdrew from the 2015 agreement.

Junior Foreign Minister Alistair Burt is making the visit as Britain and other European signatories to the deal try to keep it alive, despite Trump’s reimposition of sanctions on Tehran.

“As long as Iran meets its commitments under the deal, we remain committed to it as we believe it is the best way to ensure a safe, secure future for the region,” Burt said in a statement before his visit.

Burt will also discuss the cases of dual nationals detained in Iran.

Britain is seeking the release of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, a project manager with the Thomson Reuters Foundation. She was arrested in April 2016 at a Tehran airport as she was heading back to Britain with her daughter, now aged four, after a family visit.

Burt will meet Iranian ministers, including his counterpart Abbas Araghchi, and NGOs during his two-day visit when he will also discuss Iran’s role in conflicts in Syria and Yemen.

Reporting by Costas Pitas; editing by John Stonestreet and David Stamp

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