Raab issues urgent warning to Iran as butcher of Tehran takes charge of pariah state

Iran 'must pay the price' for attack says Gardiner

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The Foreign Secretary said Britain will be “calm and composed” in response to Iran’s “nefarious conduct”. However, Mr Raab has called on Ebrahim Raisi, Iran’s President-elect to work with international partners to clear his status as a “pariah”.

Mr Raab shared he has reached out the Mr Raisi, who will be inaugurated on Thursday.

But he stressed in an interview the UK would be “calm and composed, but we’re absolutely resolute and robust in terms of dealing with the nefarious conduct that we’ve seen”.

The UK will also send a representative to Mr Raisi’s inauguration, with the British chargé d’affaires in Tehran set to attend.

The EU also confirmed that it planned to send Deputy Foreign Representative Enrique Mora as a representative, angering Israel and it’s own MEPs.

It comes after Mr Raab and Antony Blinken, US secretary of state, hosted a call about a tanker assault and the need for Iran to “stop its destabilising behaviour”.

The UK, US and Israel blamed Iran for a suspected drone attack on the tanker MT Mercer Street off the coast of Oman which killed two crew members, including British national Adrian Underwood.

After the call, Mr Raab stated the UK and US were “united in our condemnation” of Tehran’s conduct, but added they would “continue to work together to protect international peace [and] security”.

The Foreign Secretary then said: “Under this new president, there is an opportunity to take steps to build up some confidence and goodwill with the rest of the international community, or take steps further and further into pariah status.”

In an interview with The Telegraph, Mr Raab defended the UK’s delay in responding to the attack.

Last weekend, Britain issued a formal attribution of blame against Iran at the weekend, combined with a vow to retaliate.

He told the outlet: “I don’t think it’s a smart move to be sounding off on Twitter or signalling what action we intend to take.”

He added however British people can “assume that there will need to be a holding to account for egregious behaviour like that”.

Mr Raab has also urged Mr Raisi to “take a better path” and “come back to full compliance” with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), an Obama-era nuclear deal.

Agreed in 2015, the deal sees Iran curb its nuclear programme in exchange for sanctions being eased.

Former US President Donald Trump pulled out of the nuclear deal in 2018, with Iran since having ramped up its uranium enrichment well above the agreed limits.

Mr Raisi said on Tuesday he would take steps to lift “tyrannical” sanctions imposed by the US, but stressed he “will not tie the … economy to the will of foreigners”.

Known as ‘The Butcher of Tehran’, Mr Raisi is an Iranian conservative Islamist and principlist politician.

In 1988, while Mr Raisi was still the justice chief of the capital, the Iranian government carried out a political purge which saw as many as 30,000 people executed.

Amnesty International gives a lower estimate of at least 5,000 executions during the purge, however other historians put the death toll at 30,000.

Mr Raisi went on to serve as the prosecutor general of Tehran between 1989 and 1994, the first deputy head of the judiciary from 2004 to 2014 and the country’s prosecutor general from 2014 to 2016.

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