PM discusses revamping Iran deal with French, German foreign ministers

Though Israel is not involved directly in the talks, it is, according to diplomatic officials, being kept very much abreast of the developments.

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March 26, 2018 22:40
2 minute read.
PM discusses revamping Iran deal with French, German foreign ministers

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meets with French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian in Jerusalem on March 26, 2018, following a hostage attack in France. (photo credit: KOBI GIDEON/GPO)

As the May 12 deadline looms for US President Donald Trump to decide whether or not to remain in the Iranian nuclear agreement, the foreign ministers of France and Germany – which along with Britain are currently negotiating with Washington about possible changes to the deal – met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday to discuss the issue.

Before meeting French Foreign Minister Yves-Jean Le Drian, Netanyahu said France and Israel need to stand together when fighting terrorists, as well as when fighting “terror- sponsoring regime wherever they are,” a reference to Iran.

Among the three European countries discussing the deal with the US, France has emerged as the one pressing hardest for changes to please the Trump administration and keep Washington inside the deal.

Though Israel is not involved directly in the talks, it is, according to diplomatic officials, being kept very much abreast of the developments.

Channel 10 reported that Netanyahu told the foreign ministers the US would likely walk out of the agreement. The report said that when German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas replied that Germany thinks having a deal is better than the alternative, Netanyahu replied: “The Munich agreement from 1938 was also a deal.”

Netanyahu met with the foreign ministers after being questioned again by the police. He also met later in the day with a US Democratic Congressional delegation led by Nancy Pelosi.

Before meeting Netanyahu, Maas met PA President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah, and said afterward it would be “difficult” to launch a peace process without American participation.

“I have stressed that any peace process without the United States would be difficult,” Maas said. “This is why we hope that...no doors will be slammed shut,” he said at a press conference.

Since Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, Palestinian officials have said they will not work with an American-led peace process and have called for the creation of a multilaterally meditated one instead.

While the stymied diplomatic process has created some friction in Israeli-German ties, with Berlin repeatedly expressing displeasure at Israel’s settlement policies, Maas came into office just 12 days ago intent on changing the tone of his predecessor, Sigmar Gabriel.

Upon taking office on March 12, Maas said the Holocaust was a primary motivation for his entering into politics. He expanded on that Monday after meeting with a group of Holocaust survivors, saying that after not receiving sufficient answers to his questions about the Holocaust at school, he began looking into his own family history.

“I was looking for a resistance fighter in my family, but I did not find one. They were all just followers,” he said. “From there I started to think about what I can do myself and what contribution I can make today, that such a thing will never happen again.”

Adam Rasgon contributed to this report.


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