Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called for more international pressure on Iran Thursday after it ended limits to its nuclear research and development in its latest response to US sanctions. “This morning we were informed of another violation, more defiance, by Iran, this time in its striving to attain nuclear weapons,” Netanyahu said before leaving for London, where he will meet British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and US Defence Secretary Mark Esper.
“This is not the time to hold talks with Iran; this is the time to increase the pressure on Iran.”
Iran says its nuclear programme is for peaceful purposes only.
Earlier, President Hassan Rouhani said Iran will announce a new step in scaling back its nuclear commitments despite a diplomatic push for relief from US sanctions. Iran and three European countries—Britain, France and Germany—have been engaged in talks to save a 2015 nuclear deal that has been unravelling since the US withdrew from it May last year. The efforts have been led by French President Emmanuel Macron, who has been trying to convince the US to offer Iran some sort of relief from crippling sanctions it has reimposed on the Islamic republic since its pullout.
“I don’t think that... we will reach a deal so we’ll take the third step and we will announce the details today or tomorrow,” Rouhani was quoted as saying Wednesday by the presidency website.
The Iranian president said the two sides were getting closer to an agreement on a way to resolve burning issues.
“If we had 20 issues of disagreement with the Europeans in the past, today there are three issues,” he said.
“Most of them have been resolved but we haven’t reached a final agreement.” Iran has hit back with countermeasures in response to the US withdrawal from the 2015 deal, which gave it relief from sanctions in return for curbs on its nuclear programme.
In July, it said it had increased its stockpile of enriched uranium to beyond the maximum set by the deal. It later announced it had exceeded a cap on the level of enrichment of its stocks.