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British Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson has described the Iran nuclear deal, officially the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), as the "best possible" and "achievable" deal to address the West's concerns over Iran's nuclear ambitions, in sharp contrast with United States President Donald Trump's abhorrence of the deal.

Addressing the Atlantic Council, a Washington-based think tank in the field of international affairs, here Tuesday, Williamson said "the JCPOA was a deal that we felt was the best possible deal that was achievable".

"None of us has ever pretended it was a perfect deal, but actually it did deliver a number of important measures that I think everyone benefits from," he added.

"On the Iran deal, we really encourage the United States, along with all nations, to get around the table and start discussing about actually ... how we have something that can work. We really just encourage the United States to start talking to its partners and Iran in order to be able to find a route forward."

Williamson's remarks were in a sharp contrast to those of Trump, who on Monday signed an executive order to re-impose sanctions on Iran which had been lifted under the JCPOA, and blasted the deal he had left in May as a "horrible, one-sided" one that he claimed had failed to protect US national security.

In 2015, Iran and the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Counci -l- Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States -- plus Germany, signed the deal in Vienna. Under the accord, Iran agreed to limit its sensitive nuclear activities and allow international inspectors to examine in return for the lifting of crippling economic sanctions.

Trans-Atlantic division has escalated over the Trump Administration's threat to impose the so-called secondary sanctions on companies which have business connections with Iran, many of which are from Europe.

Hours before Trump's announcement to re-impose sanctions on Iran, the European Union (EU), Britain, France and Germany said in a joint statement they would maintain economic ties with Tehran, and "are determined to protect European economic operators engaged in legitimate business with Iran".

They also noted that "the European Union's updated Blocking Statute enters into force on Aug 7 to protect EU companies doing legitimate business with Iran from the impact of US extra-territorial sanctions".


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