Saturday, 20 October, 2018

Netanyahu Warns Merkel Iran Meddling Will Spark New Refugee Crisis

UN force on the Israeli Syrian border June 2018 UN force on the Israeli Syrian border June 2018 Baz Ratner
Jay Anderson | 06 June, 2018, 01:56

Iran's top leader said on Monday he had ordered preparations to increase uranium enrichment capacity if a nuclear deal with world powers falls apart after the USA withdrawal, and he vowed never to accept limits on Tehran's ballistic missile program.

On Tuesday, Iranian diplomat Ali Akbar Salehi reiterated that Iran "will remain within the framework of the 2015 nuclear agreement", as the country prepares to inform the United Nations' nuclear agency that is beginning to increase capacity to produce uranium.

Behrouz Kamalvandi, the spokesman for Iran's nuclear agency, was quoted by state TV as saying a letter was submitted to the International Atomic Energy Agency detailing the move.

Mr Khamenei's warning comes almost a month after American President Donald Trump announced Washington's decision to unilaterally withdraw from the landmark nuclear accord.

The three European states are now scrambling to save the deal - under which Iran promised to curb its nuclear programme in return for lifted sanctions - seeing it as the best chance to stop Tehran developing a nuclear bomb.

Shortly after Khamenei's speech, French automaker PSA announced it was pulling out of two joint ventures to sell its cars in Iran owing to the U.S. sanctions.

Germany, France and Britain are three of the signatories of the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) between world powers and Iran, aimed at keeping Tehran from acquiring nuclear weapons.

Iran has strictly and in all circumstances denied pursuing any military ambitions through its nuclear work.




Hoping to protect their interests, the Europeans have proposed hammering out a supplementary deal with Tehran covering its ballistic missile program as well as its interventions in countries such as Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Yemen.

European countries and China have said they will stand by the existing nuclear accord. "We have the same goal that Iran must never get a nuclear weapon and the difference between us is how to do that".

Mr Trump cited evidence of a secret nuclear programme, announced by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, as a justification for stepping away from the deal.

Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is meeting France's President Emmanuel Macron on Tuesday as part of his European tour, aiming to rally support from allies against Iran.

Major General Ali Jafari, commander of Iran's Revolutionary Guards, said previous year that it had missiles with a 2,000-km (1,240-mile) range that could hit arch-enemy Israel and "most American interests and forces" in the Middle East.

In return, Iran received relief from sanctions, most of which were dropped in January 2016.

However, Netanyahu did urge the French leader to impose economic sanctions on Iran to help dissuade it from pursuing a nuclear weapon.

He said United States "illegal withdrawal" from the deal and its "bullying methods to bring other governments in line" with that decision have discredited the rule of law in worldwide arena.

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