Theresa May set for talks with Benjamin Netanyahu amid tensions over Iran nuclear deal

Donald Trump has already pulled out of the agreement with Tehran and Benjamin Netanyahu has lobbied for European leaders to follow suit

David Hughes
Wednesday 06 June 2018 09:51
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Theresa May will host Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
Theresa May will host Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

Theresa May will host Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for talks on Wednesday amid tensions over the Iran nuclear deal.

US president Donald Trump has already pulled out of the agreement with Tehran and Mr Netanyahu has lobbied for European leaders to follow suit.

But the British prime minister has remained committed to the deal, insisting it has helped make the world a safer place by reining in Iran’s nuclear ambitions.

Mr Netanyahu started his European trip by meeting German chancellor Angela Merkel on Monday before talks with French president Emmanuel Macron on Tuesday.

At a news conference in Paris the two leaders stuck to their opposing views on the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) deal.

Mr Netanyahu warned that a nuclear-armed Iran was “the greatest threat to the world” and claimed Tehran had lied to the world about its weapons programme.

But Mr Macron questioned how “a total absence of controls and commitments is better than the 2015 framework” under the JCPOA.

As well as Iran, the situation in Gaza is also likely to feature in talks between Mrs May and Mr Netanyahu in Downing Street.

Ms May said last month that the loss of life in the Gaza protests was “tragic and extremely concerning” and urged Israel to show restraint.

While accepting that Israel had the right to defend its borders, she said its use of live ammunition was “deeply troubling”.

James Sorene, CEO of Israel and Middle East think tank Bicom, said: “Netanyahu will be looking for support from Britain for Israeli action in Syria against Iran, sympathy for Israel’s terrible dilemma on the Gaza border and a willingness to listen to what Israeli intelligence unearthed about Iran’s nuclear secrets.

“Theresa May wants to save the nuclear deal in some form and will ask tough questions about recent Palestinian deaths in Gaza.

“For both leaders this is an opportunity to consolidate booming trade ties and compare notes on counter-terrorism.”

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