by: Ilse Strauss
Friday, 6 September 2019 | Iran’s dogged determination to forge ahead with its nuclear ambitions topped the agenda during a meeting between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his British counterpart, Prime Minister Boris Johnson, in London yesterday.
Netanyahu embarked on the brief trip to the UK a day after Iranian President Hassan Rouhani warned that Tehran was on the verge of taking the third and “most important step” away from the 2015 nuclear deal.
“From Friday, we will witness research and development on different kinds of centrifuges and new centrifuges and also whatever is needed for enriching uranium in an accelerated way,” Rouhani said during an address aired on state television. “All limitations on our research and development will be lifted on Friday.”
The trip also comes a day after US President Donald Trump said a meeting with Rouhani on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly later this month is “possible.”
Addressing reporters on the tarmac at Ben Gurion Airport before boarding the Boeing 777 for London, Netanyahu called on the international community to forgo diplomacy and rather take a firm stance against the Islamic Republic.
“This morning we were informed of another violation, more defiance, by Iran, this time in its striving to attain nuclear weapons,” Netanyahu said. “This joins Iran’s aggressive acts against international shipping and against countries in the region, as well as its efforts to carry out murderous attacks against the State of Israel, efforts that have not ceased.”
“This is not the time to conduct talks with Iran—this is the time to increase the pressure on Iran,” Netanyahu asserted.
“I will discuss all of these issues with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper during my snap visit to London,” he said.
As Netanyahu and Johnson sat down for their meeting at 10 Downing Street yesterday, the Israeli premier got straight to the point.
“I want to say that you’ve been a great friend of the Jewish people and Israel,” Netanyahu told Johnson. “I applaud your staunch stance against anti-Semitism and your support for Israel’s security. Our relations are at an all-time high: economically, trade, technology, defense cooperation. These are all great things.”
“It’s not that we lack challenges,” he continued. “We have the challenge of Iran’s aggression and terrorism, and I’d like to talk to you about how we can work together to counter these things for the benefit of peace.”
Following Netanyahu’s meeting with Esper later yesterday, the UK Secretary of Defense took to Twitter to thank Netanyahu for the get-together. “I appreciate him taking the time on his trip to London to meet on these important issues,” Esper tweeted. He added that the topic under discussion was Israel and the UK’s “shared security challenges.”
One of the signatories to the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, the UK has remained a staunch supporter of the accord and has sought to salvage it even after the US’s withdrawal last year. Relations between London and Tehran have, however, become increasingly strained after Iran detained an oil tanker flying a British flag in the Strait of Hormuz. For its part, Britain has detained a tanker loaded with Iranian oil near the coast of Gibraltar, the Times of Israel reported.
Posted on September 6, 2019
Source: (Bridges for Peace, September 6, 2019)
Photo Credit: Ashernet
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