Ahead of Iran talks, Netanyahu tries to convince Europe not to ease sanctions
In a series of press interviews, Netanyahu urges European countries to stop Iran’s race for a nuclear bomb while it’s still possible; insists Israel is not isolated.
Five days before Iran and the so-called P5+1 countries begin talks in Geneva about Iran’s nuclear program, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is trying to mobilize European public opinion against easing sanctions on Tehran.
On Thursday, Netanyahu gave interviews to several leading media outlets in the three European powers participating in the talks – France, Britain and Germany. The other members of the P5+1 are the United States, Russia and China. In Britain, he spoke to the Financial Times and the Sky television network, in France to Le Monde and the France 24 network, and in Germany to Frankfurter Allgemeine and the ARD network.
A press statement issued by the Prime Minister’s Office said that in these interviews, Netanyahu urged European countries to stop Iran’s race for a nuclear bomb while it’s still possible.
“The [Iranian] regime is currently smiling and saying, ‘You know what? Let me continue enriching uranium, let me keep my plutonium plants, and I’ll give you tactical concessions, cosmetic concessions, and you’ll ease the sanctions,’” the Hebrew-language statement said, summarizing Netanyahu’s message.
“But if the sanctions are eased, the sanctions will collapse. They’ll get everything they want, and we, collectively, won’t get anything. Don’t say I didn’t warn you. The Jewish people has been around for 4,000 years. They tried to destroy us over and over, but they didn’t succeed, and we also won’t let people like the ayatollahs succeed. It’s important to stress that this isn’t just an Israeli issue; this issue also affects you.”
In an exclusive interview with France 24, Netanyahu urged France to take a tough stance on Iran and look past Prime Minister Hassan Rohani’s “smile campaign.”
“I don’t have any problem telling the truth even if it’s not popular. It so happens that I’m not isolated - Israel is not isolated,” Netanyahu said.
“Just about every country in the Arab world agrees with our position; some say so openly, some say that less openly. There’s one country who doesn’t agree with us: Syria’s Assad, of course, because he supports Iran’s regime that continues to help him in the mass murder of women and children.”
The prime minister also came out against Britain’s planned renewal of diplomatic relations with Iran, which Foreign Secretary William Hague announced a few days ago. Netanyahu told the Financial Times that as long as Iran refuses to recognize Israel and keeps calling for its annihilation, Britain shouldn’t resume ties with Tehran.