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January 24, 2018 4:13 pm

Netanyahu Stresses Israeli Opposition to Iran Nuclear Deal at Davos Meetings With World Leaders

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German Chancellor Angela Merkel enjoys a rare light moment with Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu at the exclusive Davos annual summit. Photo: GPO.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu arrived in Davos on Wednesday determined to persuade world leaders and businessmen gathered for the exclusive annual summit in the Swiss resort that Iran continues to pose a grave threat to global security.

Among the world leaders the veteran Israeli leader will meet with for private consultations are US President Donald Trump, at a planned sit-down on Thursday, and British Prime Minister Theresa May.

On Wednesday, Netanyahu impressed upon Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and German Chancellor Angela Merkel Israel’s ongoing objections to the JCPOA — the nuclear deal with Iran agreed to in July 2015 that the US now opposes, although it has yet to withdraw entirely from the agreement.

Netanyahu boldly criticized the Iran nuclear deal and beseeched Canada, and other countries, “to seize the moment.”

He also updated Trudeau on the Israel-Canada Free Trade Agreement, with both sides agreeing to accelerate “mutual contacts on that issue.”

Trudeau later tweeted his appreciation for the meeting with the Israeli leader.

Netanyahu described his subsequent encounter with Chancellor Merkel as an “important meeting.”

“Of course we discussed the nuclear agreement with Iran,” Netanyahu said in a statement. “I said that in my view the only existing option at the moment is to put in real — not cosmetic — changes that will prevent Iran from going nuclear which would otherwise be assured by the agreement as it stands.”

Prime Minister Netanyahu continued: “I also expressed my appreciation for Chancellor Merkel’s genuine commitment to the security of Israel. She said that she understands our concerns regarding the nuclear agreement even though she does not necessarily agree with the way in which we want to deal with it. To this end the Europeans will hold discussions among themselves, and with the US, but she understands that this touches on our concerns, the things that could threaten our very existence. She has proven this commitment in the past at various opportunities. I am satisfied that our positions have been well-understood.”

However, later on Wednesday, The Times of Israel reported that “German diplomatic sources” had denied that Merkel expressed understanding for Israel’s opposition to the nuclear deal, saying the German leader had been talking about Israel’s “general concerns” regarding Iran.

On Wednesday night, Netanyahu took time out from fighting Israel’s corner on the world stage to enjoy a quiet dinner with his wife, Sara. Israeli journalists in Davos posted photos on social media of the smiling couple holding hands at a local restaurant.

 

 

 

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