Netanyahu arrived in Europe for a round of diplomatic meetings focusing on the future of the nuclear deal with Iran.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu left on Monday for a round of diplomatic meetings in Berlin, Paris and London with the future of the nuclear deal with Iran in focus.
The Israeli premier met with German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Monday, and will meet with French President Emmanuel Macron on Tuesday and with British Prime Minister Theresa May on Wednesday.
In his meeting with Merkel, Netanyahu addressed disagreements about the Iranian nuclear agreement’s terms, while both leaders agreed on the need to force Iran to vacate other countries in the Middle East, reported the Jerusalem Post.
According to that report, Merkel declared at a press conference after their meeting that Germany “will exert [its] influence in such a way that Iran is pushed out of this region,” and that Berlin will take a “very close look at Iran’s activities in the region and seek to contain it.”
At the same press conference, Netanyahu warned, “The Iranians military presence right now in Syria includes about 18,000 Shi’a militia, commanded by Iranian commanders.”
On Wednesday in London, Netanyahu will also meet not only with May but also with British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson and members of Parliament.
The focus of Netanyahu’s diplomatic foray is preventing Iran from arming itself with nuclear weapons, the spread of Iranian aggression – especially in Syria – and the latest developments in the Middle East.
The Europeans have been struggling to salvage the nuclear deal since President Donald Trump declared last month that the US is withdrawing from the pact. Netanyahu will attempt to rally support from the European signatories to the deal to amend the agreement.
When the deal expires, as it stands now, Iran will emerge with the ability to produce a nuclear bomb within a very short time.
The leaders will also discuss advancing cooperation in various fields.
During his visit to Paris, Netanyahu and Macron will attend an event in honor of 70 years of the State of Israel and the opening of the Israeli-French “combined seasons” in the context of which approximately 300 events will be held in both countries in fields such as science and innovation, the arts, music, the culinary arts, academia, the economy and theater.
Israel’s ‘Unchanging Truth’
Speaking about his trip during the weekly Cabinet meeting on Sunday, Netanyahu stated that while he will “discuss with them developments in the region, the emphasis will be on Iran, first of all on continuing to block Iran’s nuclear program.
“Of course, I will reiterate an unchanging truth: Israel will not allow Iran to achieve nuclear weapons,” he stated.
“The second thing is the blocking of Iran’s plans for expansion and aggression throughout the Middle East, especially in Syria. I will also insist on a basic principle: Israel retains – and will continue to retain – freedom of action against the establishment of an Iranian military presence anywhere in Syria,” he added.
Netanyahu recently spoke with Russian President Vladimir Putin and American Secretary of State Pompeo regarding Iran’s military buildup in Syria, which Israel considers to be a severe threat to its security.