Netanyahu heads to Europe to shore up support for amending Iran deal
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Netanyahu heads to Europe to shore up support for amending Iran deal

Israeli PM embarks on whistlestop visit which will conclude with a meeting at number 10 Downing Street with Theresa May

Prime Minister Theresa May with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at a meeting in 10 Downing St, London. 

Photo credit: Joe Giddens/PA Wire
Prime Minister Theresa May with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at a meeting in 10 Downing St, London. Photo credit: Joe Giddens/PA Wire

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is heading to Europe in a bid to rally support from key allies for amending the international nuclear deal with Iran.

Mr Netanyahu is set to meet with leaders from Germany, France and Britain, beginning with German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Monday.

Addressing his Cabinet on Sunday, Mr Netanyahu said Iran would top his agenda and voiced optimism for the visit.

Israel has been a leading critic of the nuclear deal, and more recently, has said it will not allow Iran to establish a permanent military presence in Syria.

“For years we stood alone against these twin threats and I think that the situation has changed for the better,” Mr Netanyahu said.

Mr Netanyahu unsuccessfully tried to block the landmark deal that which gave Iran relief from crippling sanctions in exchange for curbs on its nuclear programme when it was negotiated in 2015 under President Barack Obama.

Announcing his trip in the Knesset last week, the prime minister said he planned to tell Mrs May, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron, of the dangers posed by Iran and its nuclear aspirations. His visit will conclude with a meeting at Number 10 Downing Street with Theresa May.

Mr Netanyahu said: “I will present our positions as clearly as possible. We are well experienced. For years we stood alone against these twin threats and I think the situation has changed for the better”

He added that he would tell the leaders that there was “no room.for any Iranian military presence anywhere in Syria” That was not just Israel’s position, Mr Netanyahu claimed: “I can say with certainty that it also reflects the positions of others in the Middle East and outside it”

The Israeli leader has found a welcome ally in President Donald Trump, who last month withdrew the United States from the deal.

Both the US and Israel hope President Trump’s withdrawal can lead all sides into addressing what they say are the deal’s shortcomings – including “sunset” provisions that end restrictions on Iranian nuclear activities, such as enriching uranium, as well as permitting Iran to continue to develop long-range missiles.

Mr Netanyahu says that as the deal expires over the next decade or so, Iran will emerge with the ability to produce a nuclear bomb in a very short time.

In addition to the US, the nuclear deal was negotiated by Germany, France, Britain, Russia and China.

The remaining members have said they remain committed to the deal. Iran for now also is honouring the agreement, though some top officials have suggested it resume its enrichment activities.

French President Emmanuel Macron’s office said France will insist on having a dialogue with Iran.

An official in his office said Mr Macron, along with Germany and the UK, have all been “clear” that they will work with the existing deal, viewing it as the best way to control Iran’s nuclear activity.

Netanyahu will conclude his trip by meeting Theresa May at number 10 this week,

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