Merkel defends nuclear deal, Iran says won't surrender to US

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German Chancellor Angela Merkel has acknowledged that the Iran nuclear deal "certainly has weaknesses" but says it should be preserved.

In one of a series of meetings, foreign ministers from Britain, France and Germany - signatories of the 2015 deal to stop Iran developing nuclear weapons - were to hold talks with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, amid concerns that the sanctions will also damage European business interests.

The president, who participates in the sessions of the Bundestag for the approval of the 2018 federal budget, said in relation to the JCPOA that 'the question is whether it is convenient to end the agreement or maintain it, and we consider it better to remain in it'.

Merkel described the deal as "everything other than ideal", but argued that global nuclear authorities said Iran was sticking to its commitments.

"This agreement is anything but ideal", she told lawmakers, but noted that the United Nations nuclear watchdog has confirmed Iran is abiding by its terms.

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Iran meanwhile said the new United States sanctions were an attempt to derail efforts to save the deal.

Rohani was speaking a day after Washington announced fresh sanctions on the governor of the Central Bank of Iran, accusing him of providing support for terrorist activities.

The top advisor to Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei said he doubted Tehran's talks with European nations to save the deal would be successful.

At meetings with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in Brussels on May 15, the European signatories vowed to keep the JCPOA alive despite the US withdrawal. "The Iranian nation will resist the US plots", Iranian news agencies quoted Rohani as saying.

The Europeans and Iranians have tasked experts to come up with measures quickly and will meet again in Vienna next week.

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