Netanyahu urges Washington ‘policy community’ to advocate on behalf of revised Iran deal

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Benjamin Netanyahu


Benjamin Netanyahu.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)


Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday urged the “policy community” in Washington to persuade decision makers in the US and European capitals to “fix” the Iranian nuclear deal.

Netanyahu’s appeal came in a taped message that dealt primarily with Iran to the Brookings Institute – Saban Forum meeting in Washington.

The prime minister said that US President Donald Trump, who in October decertified the Iranian nuclear deal, “has created an opportunity to fix the great flaws” of the nuclear deal. “I urge you, in the policy community, to help decision makers in the capitals of Europe and Capitol Hill, to take advantage of this opportunity.”

He reiterated Israel’s policy on Iran: “We will not allow a regime hell-bent on the annihilation of the Jewish state to acquire nuclear weapons. We will not allow that regime to entrench itself militarily in Syria, as it seeks to do, for the express purpose of eradicating our state.”

These comments came a day after reports that Israel attacked an Iranian military installation outside of Damascus.  The prime minister did not address those reports in his brief comments.

PM Benjamin Netanyahu on Iran in Syria (IsraeliPM/YouTube)

Netanyahu said he speaks so often about Iran because he reads history. “When tyrants call for the destruction my people, I believe them. I don’t have the luxury of discounting their genocidal threats,” he said.

The prime minister noted that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman recently referred to Iran’s leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei as “the new Hitler of the Middle East.”

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“Obviously there are some important differences between Nazi Germany and the Islamic Republic of Iran, but both regimes do have two important things in common,” he said. “One, a ruthless commitment to impose tyranny and terror; and second, a ruthless commitment to murder Jews.”

Netanyahu ended his comments on an upbeat note. “Today Israel is more welcome by the nations of the world than ever before,” he said. “Our economy is booming. Our foreign relations are flourishing. Our army is more powerful than ever. Our unique, our indispensable alliance with America is growing from strength to strength.”

Netanyahu also spoke of Israel’s flourishing diplomatic ties at the weekly cabinet meeting where Foreign Ministry Director General Yuval Rotem presented a survey showing that 47 of 54 countries surveyed, including 12 Arab and Muslim states, felt their countries would benefit from links with Israel.

“This is a gigantic change,”  Netanyahu said of the survey. “Israel is a sought-after, developed and strong country that even the citizens of countries with which we do not have official relations understand the benefit of relations with Israel.”

According to the survey, 48% of Iraqis and 42% of citizens of the United Arab Emirates would like their countries to have either public or discreet ties with Israel. In Sudan, that number is 50%, and in both Iran and Saudi Arabia, that number stands at 30%.

The survey, whose were not released in full, was carried out by RIWI, a firm that specializes in international Internet surveying. The questions regarding Israel were a subset of numerous questions asked to tens of thousands of respondents around the world. The survey took place in October and has about a 3.3% margin of error.

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