Netanyahu Tells Macron: Iran Nuclear Deal Must Not Be Left Unchanged

France's president urges Israeli prime minister to implement a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict

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French President Emmanuel Macron greets Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during a bilateral meeting in Davos, Switzerland, January 24, 2018.
French President Emmanuel Macron greets Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during a bilateral meeting in Davos, Switzerland, January 24, 2018.Credit: FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP
Noa Landau
Noa Landau

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with French President Emmanuel Macron at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, on Wednesday, where the two discussed the Israeli-Palestinian peace process and the Iran nuclear deal.

"The partnership between us is also important for Europe's security," Netanyahu told Macron.

The two leaders discussed at length about the need to counter Iran's aggression in the region. According to the Prime Minister's Office, Netanyahu "expressed his opinion that it was impossible to leave the nuclear agreement as it is, because within a few years the agreement will lead to the nuclearization of Iran." The prime minister stressed "Israel's commitment to prevent" a nuclear Iran, the statement read.

"I think what we have to do is to work fairly on a peace process in the short run," Macron said alongside Netanyahu, adding that the goal is recognition of two states with Jerusalem as the capital of both.

Earlier Wednesday, Netanyahu met with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and discussed, among other topics, the nuclear agreement with Iran.

After the meeting, Netanyahu told reporters he had opined to Merkel that the "only option at the moment is to introduce real and non-cosmetic changes [to the deal] that will prevent the nuclearization of Iran."

Netanyahu said he expressed his appreciation for Merkel's commitment to Israel's security, a commitment he said she reiterated during the meeting. 
"She said she understands our concerns about the nuclear agreement," Netanyahu said, "but she does not necessarily agree with the way we want to deal with it."

The prime minister also met with a number of others world leaders at the summit in Davos, including Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel and President of the Swiss Confederation Alain Berset. 

The leaders spoke about the nuclear agreement, with Netanyahu calling on them to take advantage of the opportunity provided by U.S. President Donald Trump’s ultimatum and improve the deal. Netanyahu is expected to meet with Trump on Thursday afternoon. 

Earlier this month, Trump waived sanctions on Iran, allowing the nuclear deal to survive. He, however, stated that this will be the "last time" he waives those sanctions, unless the U.S. and its European allies can find a way to remove "loopholes" in the agreement within the next four months.

In Davos, Netanyahu once again reiterated he will not allow Iran to establish itself militarily in Syria, adding that Israel is taking action to prevent this. As for the Palestinian issue, Netanyahu’s bureau said in a statement that the government “will not compromise on Israel’s security needs in any future agreement.”

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