Germany: Merkel reiterates support for JCPOA following Netanyahu talks

Germany: Merkel reiterates support for JCPOA following Netanyahu talks

On Monday, Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei warned the Europeans that "Iran will never tolerate both suffering from sanctions and nuclear restrictions" and called for preparations to speed up uranium enrichment.

It was also uncertain whether the opening of the centrifuge plant would have any significant impact on Iran's nuclear program, which continues to be closely monitored by the International Atomic Energy Agency.

"The leader [Ayatollah Khamenei] meant that we should accelerate some process. linked to our nuclear work capacity to move forward faster in case needed", he added, as quoted by Reuters news agency.

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

European signatories of the accord back the deal but have concerns over Iran's ballistic missile programme and its influence in the Middle East. Iran says the two issues are non-negotiable. Iran has repeatedly denied seeking a nuclear weapon from enrichment.

Khamenei spoke almost a month after President Donald Trump announced the United States was pulling out of the landmark Iran nuclear deal.

Since President Donald Trump's announcement of the United States withdrawal from the deal on May 8, European leaders have pledged to try to keep Iran's oil trade and investment flowing, but admitted that will not be easy to do.

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On Monday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu kicked off his diplomatic tour across Europe with a trip to Berlin to meet German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

He also called Israel a "malignant cancerous tumour" that should be removed.

In his speech marking the 29th anniversary of the death of Iranian revolutionary leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, Khamenei insisted on resisting US pressure and again warned of a harsh response if Iran came under attack.

"If conditions allow, maybe tomorrow night at Natanz, we can announce the opening of the centre for production of new centrifuges" for uranium enrichment, said Salehi, a vice president and head of the Iranian Atomic Energy Organisation, according to conservative news agency Fars.

Merkel said "we sharply condemn what the Iranian leadership said", but reiterated her view that the nuclear agreement was the best way to prevent Iran from developing atomic weapons.

The Israeli Embassy in the United States responded to Khamenei's colorful language with a gif from the 2004 film "Mean Girls", in which Regina George, played by Rachel McAdams, Cady Heron, played by Lindsay Lohan's character, "Why are you so obsessed with me?"

Speaking at the first meeting of the IAEA's board of governors since Trump threw the future of the deal in doubt, rebutted suggestions that Iran was not cooperating.

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