Trump, Netanyahu talk on the phone about Iran's 'malign' acts

Elias Hubbard
July 12, 2019

US President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu discussed Iran's "malign" actions, the White House said Thursday, as escalating tensions between Tehran and Washington threatened to torpedo a landmark 2015 nuclear agreement.

Trump and Netanyahu spoke on the telephone on Wednesday, with the U.S. president warning on Twitter of forthcoming "substantially" increased sanctions against Tehran over its announcement that it had exceeded a limit on enriched uranium reserves under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

On the same day, Bonne had also separately met Iran's security chief Ali Shamkhani.

Before meeting with Bonne, Zarif said "negotiations are never possible under pressure", in reference to U.S. sanctions against Iran.

The French President had reportedly suggested that Iran should stop increasing its uranium enrichment level in exchange for the United States to temporarily revive oil sanction waivers; a measure that would facilitate limited oil exports by Iran.

Pointing to the U.S. withdrawal from the JCPOA, he added that the Europeans "must solve that problem".

His remarks came after Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said on Monday that the Islamic Republic had exceeded the 300 kilogram (660 pound) enriched uranium stockpile limit set out by the JCPOA, which was then confirmed by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

At the request of the USA, the International Atomic Energy Agency was to hold a special meeting on Iran's nuclear programme at its Vienna headquarters on Wednesday.

The EU has repeatedly expressed its strong support for the Iran deal.

"Remember, that deal was to expire in a short number of years".

Despite the heightened rhetoric between the United States and Iran, Macron is pursuing his diplomatic track. Right now, the prospect of engagement with Washington is unappealing, especially as hawkish elements in the Trump White House are still calling for a strike on Iran.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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