Meeting Netanyahu, UK's May Reaffirms Iran Deal Commitment

Meeting Netanyahu, UK's May Reaffirms Iran Deal CommitmentMeeting Netanyahu, UK's May Reaffirms Iran Deal Commitment

British Prime Minister Theresa May reaffirmed London's commitment to the 2015 nuclear accord in a meeting with her Israeli counterpart, Benjamin Netanyahu, one of the staunchest opponents of the international agreement. Haaretz reporter Barak Ravid on Friday released details of the talks between Netanyahu and May the night before.

"May told Netanyahu she shares his concerns on Iran but added that the UK is committed to maintaining the nuclear deal," Ravid wrote on his Twitter account.

Netanyahu has backed the US harsh approach toward the pact US President Donald Trump's predecessor Barack Obama negotiated with Iran in 2015, in cooperation with five other world powers.

Officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, the UN-endorsed agreement rolled back Tehran's nuclear work in exchange for relief from international sanctions.

Trump refused to extend the certification of Tehran's compliance with the action plan on Oct. 13, leaving it up to the US Congress to decide within 60 days whether to reimpose nuclear sanctions.

The hawkish president threatened to terminate the deal, unless congress and ally nations move to fix what he claims to be shortcomings in the JCPOA.

Netanyahu has praised Trump's decertification of Iran, which has deeply unsettled the European allies of the United States, including Britain, which fear the aggressive move could cause the action plan to fall apart.

  More Complicated Situation

May said she did not share Netanyahu's stance and questioned the wisdom of Trump's decision, noting that it has only further complicated the situation.

"May disagreed & told Netanyahu: 'What Trump did on Iran only made things more difficult & complicated,'" Ravid said. According to Ravid's tweets, Netanyahu reiterated Trump's criticism that the JCPOA needs to be revised so the curbs on Iran could be expanded to target its missile program and regional clout as well, a demand that Iranians have flatly rejected.

Ravid said Netanyahu also called for the removal of expiration dates under the "sunset clauses" of the pact that require the restrictions on Iran's nuclear program to be terminated from 2025.

"Netanyahu said he thinks things can be done 'around the deal' on ballistic missiles, enforcement & the 'sunset clause'. Netanyahu told May: 'Most important thing is that we stay united on Iran & work together.'"

The Israeli premier sought May's advice on how to drive a wedge between Iran and its close ally Russia, which have helped shore up Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in a nearly seven-year war against armed insurgent groups, backed by the US and its western and regional allies.  

"May replied, 'You tell me—Israel is one of the closet countries to [Russian President Vladimir] Putin today. Much more than the UK'. Netanyahu told May separating Putin from Iran will be hard but not impossible due to diverging regional interests," Ravid wrote.  


Add new comment

Read our comment policy before posting your viewpoints