Speaking at the United Nations, Johnson said on Sep. 23, “Whatever your objections with the old nuclear deal with Iran, it’s time now to move forward and do a new deal.”
Trump pulled the United States out of the old deal and reimposed sanctions on Tehran last year, and has gradually tightened sanctions on the Islamic regime since.
“I respect Boris a lot and I’m not at all surprised that he was the first one to come out and say that,” said Trump during a bilateral meeting with Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan in Manhattan on Monday.
Recent U.S. sanctions have further hit Iran’s struggling economy while the regime resumed enriching uranium to limits beyond those set in the old agreement made with the Obama administration and world powers.
Johnson’s 10 Downing St. office clarified that Britain still backed the existing deal and wanted Iran to return to compliance.
However, Trump confirmed that Johnson wants a new deal. “He does want to do a deal,” said Trump.
Trump said Johnson is his friend and praised him for being smart and tough. “That’s why he’s a winner. That’s why he’s a man who’s going to be successful in the UK,” the President said.
“And he does want a new deal because the other deal was ready to expire. It was at a very short number of years left. All that money paid and wasted.”
Trump said the old deal did not give the United States the right to inspect Iran’s nuclear sites and also didn’t address the regime’s development of ballistic missile technology.
“The sites that they would use, we weren’t allowed to inspect. What kind of a deal is that? And ballistic missiles—they’re allowed to test ballistic missiles and other things,” said Trump adding that deals that are done with “countries” should be long-term.
“And I’ve been saying it’s the number one state of terror in the world,” Trump said. “And the agreement we had does not cover that. It was not doing well. It was doing very poorly.”
Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps is the first military branch of a foreign government to be designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization by the United States.
On Monday the United Kingdom joined the United States in blaming Iran for the recent attacks on Saudi oil facilities. While flying to New York, Johnson said his country is “attributing responsibility with a very high degree of probability to Iran” and mentioned that the United Kingdom will consider joining U.S. forces to support Saudi Arabia’s defense.
Iran has denied responsibility for the attacks that took out half of Saudi Arabia’s oil production. Yemen’s Iranian-backed Houthi rebels claimed responsibility for the attack, though analysts say the cruise missiles used didn’t have the range to be fired from Yemen.
Iran on Monday condemned Johnson for blaming the regime for the attacks.
Johnson is due to meet both Trump and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani separately this week at the U.N. General Assembly in New York. Rouhani is scheduled to address the U.N. on Wednesday.
Associated Press contributed to this report.