Photo Credit: Haim Zach / GPO
PM Netanyahu and his wife Sara board a plane at Ben Gurion International, March 19, 2017.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday made the following remarks at Ben Gurion International Airport upon leaving for Berlin:

“I am now leaving on an important visit to Europe. I will meet with three leaders and I will raise two issues there: Iran and Iran.

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“First of all, there is the need to continue the pressure on Iran against its nuclear program. I believe that this pressure should be increased. It could be that there is not full agreement on this at the moment, but in my opinion, such an understanding will take shape.

“The second issue is blocking Iran’s aggression in the region, especially its attempts to establish a military presence against us in Syria and attack us from there. On this issue I hope to form an agreed-upon policy.

“These are meetings with three very important leaders in Europe. I think that it is a good thing that I have a very personal, close and very good connection with them. This is important for the State of Israel.”

The departing Netanyahu added that “we will also mark 70 years of friendly relations between Israel and France in very many areas – culture, trade, tourism and – of course – innovation. For this we will have a special event with President Macron.”

Meanwhile, New Europe, the leading EU affairs newspaper, published in Brussels, suggested on Monday that while Germany’s trade with Iran is worth about $3.5 billion, German sales in the US outweighed US exports to Germany in 2017 by $64 billion, and therefore the Germans must abandon any notion they may have had regarding maintaining the nuclear deal with Iran and challenging US sanctions.

That, as NE puts it, is besides the fact that “the Iranian regime administers one of the most repressive forms of tyranny on its own citizens.”

“Germany should persuade the EU to disengage from Iran and seek closer cooperation with the US,” NE concluded. “If the EU weighs up the scales between the US and Iran, it will see that continuing to flog a dead horse and trade with Iran’s repressive regime is not consistent with its values or self-interest. The US is a more natural ally especially due to the shared ethnic and cultural bonds. The US should also adopt a strategy to counter disinformation and propaganda in Germany and Europe more broadly. Contrary to the views of many EU citizens, it is not American imperialism that they have to fear – there are more proximate threats closer to home. German pragmatism can defuse heated rhetoric and show the EU that conflict with the US over Iran is contrary to the group’s self-interest.”

So that Netanyahu may not necessarily be on a fool’s errand when he attempts to persuade to Europeans to abandon their nuclear deal with Iran and join President Trump’s effort to impose harsher terms on the Islamic Republic.

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