July 15, 2019 / 7:15 PM / 5 months ago

UK PM candidate Johnson: I would not back U.S. military action against Iran

Boris Johnson, a leadership candidate for Britain's Conservative Party, speaks during a hustings event in Maidstone, Britain July 11, 2019. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls

LONDON (Reuters) - The leading candidate to become Britain’s next Prime Minister, lawmaker Boris Johnson, said on Monday he would not currently back the United States if it took military action against Iran.

“Were I to be prime minister now, would I be supporting military action against Iran? Then the answer is no,” Johnson told a leadership debate organised by the Sun newspaper and TalkRadio.

U.S.-Iranian tensions have escalated since U.S. President Donald Trump decided last year to abandon the nuclear deal under which Iran agreed to curtail its atomic programme in return for relief from economic sanctions crippling its economy.

Foreign minister Jeremy Hunt, who is also Johnson’s rival in the contest to be Britain’s next leader, said he did not think the United States was looking for war with Iran, nor Tehran looking for war with Washington.

“The risk we have is something different, which is an accidental war, because something happens in a very tense and volatile situation,” Hunt told the same debate.

Reporting by William James; Editing by Kylie MacLellan/Mark Heinrich

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