Israel asks IAEA member Hungary to act on Iran nuclear violations

The world “must hold Iran accountable and act strongly against Iran’s malign activities,” Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi said.

Ministers Gabi Ashkenazi and Yizhar Shay with Hungarian Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó (photo credit: FOREIGN MINISTRY)
Ministers Gabi Ashkenazi and Yizhar Shay with Hungarian Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó
(photo credit: FOREIGN MINISTRY)
The International community should hold Iran to count for its violations of its nuclear deal with world powers, Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi said during a visit to Jerusalem by his Hungarian counterpart Péter Szijjártó on Monday.
Hungary is a member of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) board, and as such as received its recent reports of Iranian breaches of the 2015 agreement known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
In a statement following their meeting, Ashkenazi said they “spoke about regional security.
“We believe that the greatest threat to regional stability and peace is Iran,” he said. “Israel will not allow Iran to have nuclear weapons and we will not allow Iranian entrenchment on our borders.”
The world “must hold Iran accountable and act strongly against Iran’s malign activities,” Ashkenazi added.
The foreign minister also spoke out against Iranian support for Hezbollah precision missiles that would give the Lebanese terrorist group greater strategic offensive capabilities to threaten Israel.
Szijjártó reiterated Hungary’s commitment to defending Israel in on the world stage, saying his country will “stand for Israel, for a fair and balanced approach towards Israel in international organizations, regardless of all kind of pressures we do have to face.”
Hungary is one of eight countries, which has argued that the International Criminal Court lacks the jurisdiction to hear war crimes suits that related to activities in the West Bank, east Jerusalem and Gaza.
Szijjártó compared his country’s standing with that of Israel, saying that “if there were a competition among countries of who is most attacked by the world media, Israel and Hungary would be among the top three for sure.”
But Szijjártó said ties between Budapest and Jerusalem have never been better.
The Hungarian foreign minister also praised US President Donald Trump’s peace plan, saying it “has the best chance ever so far to be a basis for forward progress here in the Middle East when it comes to peace and security.”
Hungary is one of the few countries other than Israel that has shown overt support for the plan, and Szijjártó said he opposes EU sanctions, which would require unanimity among member states. Some other European countries had hoped to deter Israel from applying sovereignty to parts of the West Bank by threatening sanctions, but there are other other possible actions the EU can take without all member states agreeing.
Szijjártó also referred to a partnership between Israeli company Celitron, a subsidiary of BATM Advanced Communications, that is producing ventilators in Hungary to treat COVID-19.
In light of the pandemic, countries now have “a duty to build strategic capacities to be able to produce the most important protective equipment on our own,” he said. “This new step made in cooperation now with Israel...[means] we will be able to produce what we need and be an exporting country as well.”
During his visit, Szijjártó also met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Science and Technology Minister Yizhar Shay.
Hungary has a Jewish community of 70,000, which receives a lot of support from government, including to synagogues and Jewish institutions, Avi Nir-Feldklein, the head of the Foreign Ministry’s Europe department, told reporters on Sunday in advance of the half-day-visit.
He credited in particular Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban with helping create close ties between Israel and the Visegrad group, which is special group of four eastern bloc countries: Hungary, Poland, the Czech Republic and the Slovak Republic.
Hungary and Israel established diplomatic ties upon the creation of the state of Israel in 1948, but that relationship was severed during the Six-Day War in 1967, when Hungary was a Soviet bloc country. Those ties were re-established in 1989, as the Soviet Union collapsed.
Tovah Lazaroff contributed to this report.