Korean Denuclearization Pledge Will Help Trump Counter Iran, Israeli Intel Minister Says

Yisrael Katz also says he doubts reports that Russia plans to give Syria its advanced S-300 missile system

In this Friday, April 27, 2018, file photo, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, left, and South Korean President Moon Jae-in raise their hands after signing a joint statement at the border village of Panmunjom in the Demilitarized Zone.
/AP

North and South Korea's announcement that they seek a denuclearized Korean peninsula gives U.S. President Donald Trump a stronger hand in his quest to renegotiate the Iranian nuclear deal, Israel's intelligence minister said after Friday's historic meeting between the Korean leaders.

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“He [Trump] will have more power against Iran now and maybe to convince the European Union not to be the weak link in the coalition,” Intelligence Minister Yisrael Katz told Reuters.

Katz further said that North Korean denuclearization would be beneficial for the Middle East, asserting that Pyongyang assists Iran's development of missile technology.

“Yes, I think there is cooperation as it belongs to developing the ballistic missiles. And we have the evidence,” he said. “We have a lot of evidence.”

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As for reports that Russia plans to provide to Syria its advanced S-300 surface-to-air missile system, Katz said: “Personally, it is hard for me to believe that Putin will give them the S-300. Because this is his main card that he is holding now in the discussions with Israel ... If he will give them the S-300, about what can he talk about with us afterward?”

The 2015 Iran nuclear agreement, which Israel’s government vehemently opposed, is in danger of unraveling should Trump decide by May 12 to restore U.S. economic sanctions against Iran.

Trump has called the accord the worst deal ever negotiated and threatened to re-impose the U.S. penalties unless Britain, France and Germany can fix the deal's “flaws.” The agreement lifted economic sanctions on Iran in return for curbing its nuclear program.