Netanyahu prepares to push anti-Iran line on Europe tour

Netanyahu prepares to push anti-Iran line on Europe tour
Israeli leader Binyamin Netanyahu is set to travel to Europe on Monday to counter efforts by world leaders to salvage the Iran nuclear deal.
2 min read
02 June, 2018
Netanyahu will meet with leaders from France, Britain and Germany [AFP]

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu will travel to Europe on Monday to push his uncompromising stance on Iran to leaders eager to salvage the nuclear agreement after the United States withdrew.

Netanyahu, a fierce opponent of the agreement and the Iranian regime, will meet in turn with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Emmanuel Macron and British Prime Minister Theresa May.

Germany, France and the United Kingdom are three of the signatories of the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) between world powers and Iran, aimed at keeping Tehran from acquiring nuclear weapons.

The European leaders have been scrambling to preserve the landmark deal after slamming President Donald Trump's May 8 decision to withdraw.

The fallout from America rejecting the accord is likely to dominate the talks, with Netanyahu expected to firmly oppose European efforts to sustain it.

"I will discuss with them ways to block Iran's nuclear aspirations and Iran's expansion in the Middle East," Netanyahu said on Monday of his European meetings, noting the issues were "crucial to Israel's security".

After years lobbying against the 2015 deal, the decision by close ally Trump to ditch the accord has been greeted as a major triumph by Netanyahu.

The Israeli leader has brushed aside European insistence that the agreement is the best option to prevent Tehran getting the bomb, claiming that it in fact brought Tehran closer to becoming a nuclear power.

He also argues that a cash influx into Iran following the lifting of international sanctions as part of the accord has fuelled the expansion of Tehran's military influence in the region, especially in neighbouring Syria.