Netanyahu tried to scuttle a potential Trump-Zarif meeting - report

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (photo credit: REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
(photo credit: REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun)
Prime Minster Benjamin Netanyahu attempted to scuttle a potential meeting between US President Donal Trump and Iranian Foreign Minister Javed Zarif, Israel’s Channel 13 and the Axios news site reported on Thursday.
Zarif had made a surprise visit to the G-7 meeting in France, while Trump was in attendance.
Israel feared that French President Emmanuel Macron might facilitate a meeting between Trump and Zarif. A US president has not held a high-level face-to-face meeting with the Iranians for over four decades.
The US is in the midst of an economic pressure campaign to force the Iranians to negotiate a new agreement with regard to its nuclear program.
Upon learning that Zarif was at the G-7, Netanyahu attempted many times to call Trump with the help of US Ambassador David Friedman, so that he could avert a meeting.
According to the reports, he feared that such a conversation would pave the way to a Trump meeting with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.
At the G-7, Trump said he though such a meeting could take place soon. But Zarif has since said that no such meeting would occur unless the US lifted its biting sanctions. US National Security Advisor John Bolton has since said that the US would not lift the sanctions until a new Iranian deal was signed.
The six world powers — the US, China, Russia, France, Germany and Great Britain — had signed a Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action with Tehran in 2015 that was designed to curb the country’s nuclear program.
The US has since backed out of that agreement and now wants to sign a new one that would eliminate Iran’s ability to produce nuclear weapons.
In speaking with the Hugh Hewitt Show, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo spoke against the 2015 deal that was brokered with the help of the Obama administration.
“The previous administration guaranteed Iran a path to a nuclear weapon system, allowed them to foment terror, and allowed their missile system to run amok.  President Trump has directed that we do just the opposite and deny them the resources to create risk – not only for the United States and its citizens, but for Israel as well.  And we’ve been successful at that,” Pompeo said.