British thinking about Iran won’t primarily be affected by U.S.: security expert

February 28, 2017

TEHRAN – A senior fellow at the Center for Security Studies at Georgetown University and at the Brookings Institution says "official British thinking about relations with Iran will not primarily be affected by the U.S. administration."

In an interview with the Tehran Times, Paul Pillar says, “London's thinking about relations with Iran will still naturally go in many of the same directions as German and French thinking.”

Following is the text of the interview with Paul Pillar:

Q: Can Brexit affect British foreign policy, particularly toward Iran?

A: British foreign policy obviously will be oriented less toward the continent of Europe and more toward distant allies, with the United States being the most important of those allies.  We already have seen efforts by the government of Theresa May to shore up the relationship with Washington, despite difficulties in that regard associated with Donald Trump being the U.S. president.  Brexit probably will make little or no difference in British policy toward Iran; London's thinking about relations with Iran will still naturally go in many of the same directions as German and French thinking.

Q: What will be the impact of Trump’s election on Iran-England relationship?

A: Given Trump's unpopularity among the British, there will be less inclination than there might otherwise have been to maintain solidarity, for the sake of solidarity, with the U.S. administration regarding relations with Iran.  Official British thinking about relations with Iran will not primarily be affected by the U.S. administration but rather by Britain's own political and economic interests.   

Q: Will Brexit prompt Britain to sell more arms to Arab countries in the Persian Gulf region?

A: There might be some increased efforts to promote such arms sales, as a compensation for the overall economic disruption and loss of other markets associated with Brexit.

Q: And how the election of Trump will affect Iran-EU relations?

A: The impact, if any, will be essentially the same as the impact in Britain--Europe leaders will do what they regard as best for Europe and for international peace and security, without any special deference to Washington.

JH/PA

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