Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends the weekly cabinet meeting at his office in Jerusalem .
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s recent anti-Israel, anti-US tirade does not give supporters of the nuclear deal “any room for illusion,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Wednesday immediately upon landing in London for a two-day visit.
Khamenei, in Twitter posts on his account earlier in the day, wrote that “God willing, there will be nothing of the Zionist regime by the next 25 years,” and that until the time of Israel’s disappearance, there will be “no moment of serenity for Zionists.”
Khamenei was quoted on his website as saying that Iran negotiated with US for “specific reasons.”
The Americans “behaved well in the talks,” he said, “but we didn’t and we won’t allow negotiation with the Americans on other issues.”
Netanyahu, who is scheduled to meet with British Prime Minister David Cameron on Thursday, during which Iran is expected to be a central issue, said Khamenei made clear that the US remains the Great Satan, and that Iran intends to destroy Israel.
“This will not happen,” Netanyahu said. “Israel is a strong country and it will become even stronger.”
Nevertheless, the prime minister said, the conclusion to be drawn from the “remarks of the tyrant in Tehran is that all responsible countries must cooperate in order to stop Iran’s terrorism and aggression which, to my regret, will only increase as a result of the agreement.”
Before flying to London to meet with Cameron, Netanyahu said that the message he is presently conveying to European leaders is that Europe should be supporting Israel, not pressuring or condemning it.
The focus of his talks with Cameron will be that Israel is “the only true protection Europe has in the Middle East against surging extremist Islam. We are prepared to act together with Europe in Africa and other places to fight extremist Islam but this requires a change of approach.
This change will take time but we will implement it,” Netanyahu said.
His arrival in the British capital was greeted by some 300 pro-Palestinian protesters staging a noisy protest in central London. Minor scuffles with police broke out as they surged into the main road outside the Downing Street residence of Cameron.
“We’re here because we feel that Netanyahu should pay for his war crimes,” said 21-year-old student Marion Tehami. “We’re here to protest and let him know that he’s not welcome in our country.”
The demonstrators also squared off against a group of about 50 pro-Israel demonstrators who were waving the Israeli flag and chanting in a cordoned off area nearby.
Meanwhile, diplomatic officials dismissed opposition charges that Netanyahu’s adamant opposition to the Iranian deal would destroy relations with the US, citing comments made Wednesday in Washington by Democratic presidential challenger Hillary Clinton saying that – if elected – she would invite Netanyahu to the White House during the first month.
In that speech at the Brookings Institution, Clinton backed the Iran deal, but placed a huge emphasis on ensuring Israel’s security.
The diplomatic officials in Jerusalem said that “even those who support the agreement [such as Clinton], emphasized the importance of deepening the ties with Israel, and to strengthen them in light of the agreement.”
Netanyahu is widely expected to meet with US President Barack Obama sometime later this year, either during his trip to the UN General Assembly in September, or at a possible trip to the annual conference of the Jewish Federations of North America meeting in Washington in early November.
Despite speculation that the two leaders will meet during one of those visits, however, no meeting has yet been set up. They last met a year ago when Netanyahu traveled to the US for the annual UN General Assembly meeting.Reuters contributed to this report.