U.S. President Donald Trump spoke on Sunday with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu about Iran and other issues, the White House said in a brief statement.
"The leaders discussed the threat from Iran, as well as other critical bilateral and regional issues," the White House said in an email statement.
Relations between Iran and the United States have worsened since last year when Trump pulled out of Tehran's 2015 nuclear deal with world powers, brokered by his predecessor Barack Obama, and reimposed sanctions on the country.
Since the U.S. unilaterally pulled out of the agreement and imposed the new sanctions, Iran's economy has been struggling. In response, Iran has been slowly violating its provisions under the deal to pressure the other major powers involved in the deal - Britain, France, Germany, China and Russia - to provide more economic incentives.
Netanyahu on Sunday lashed out at European countries for joining a body that would allow some trading with Iran despite the U.S. sanctions.
The prime minister said in a video statement that European countries “should be ashamed of themselves” for seeking to trade with Iran. He says the countries were enabling Iran to develop nuclear weapons.
Last week, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, the Netherlands, Norway and Sweden said they were joining INSTEX, a body designed to facilitate European trade with Iran.
INSTEX was created by Germany, France and Britain to coordinate import and export payments so European companies can do business with Iran despite U.S. pressure, and thereby convince Tehran to stick to a 2015 deal that limits its nuclear efforts.
Iran has given INSTEX a cool reception in part because it doesn’t include vital oil trade.
The United Nations' nuclear watchdog reported last month that its inspectors discovered uranium particles of a man-made origin "at a location in Iran not declared to the agency," confirming allegations made earlier by Israel and the United States.
The International Atomic Energy Agency did not identify the site in the confidential quarterly report that was distributed to member states.
A subsequent IAEA meeting included discussions about an undeclared site on the outskirts of Tehran that Netanyahu described to the UN General Assembly in 2018 as a "secret atomic warehouse."
Although the IAEA report did not identify the location where its inspectors found the uranium particles, it said the information was reported by its acting director general to the board last week.
Senior Israeli intelligence officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity to the AP at the time to discuss intelligence, alleged the site in Iran contained undeclared nuclear materials. They claimed there were "several other" similar clandestine nuclear facilities under the purview of Iran's Defense Ministry, not the country's civilian atomic energy agency.
First published: 10:11 , 12.02.19