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Netanyahu Calls for More Pressure on Iran, Not Talks

Netanyahu Calls for More Pressure on Iran, Not Talks

Thursday, 5 September, 2019 - 06:15
FILE PHOTO: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends the weekly cabinet meeting at his office in Jerusalem August 12, 2018. Jim Hollander /Pool via Reuters/File Photo
Asharq Al-Awsat

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Thursday that it was time to ratchet up pressure on Iran and not the time for talks, as Tehran appears poised to move further away from its commitments under the 2015 nuclear deal with world powers.

"This is not the time to hold talks with Iran. This is the time to increase the pressure on Iran," Netanyahu told reporters at Ben Gurion Airport before boarding a flight to London.

Netanyahu said Iran's continued violations of the deal, as well as "aggressive actions" on international shipping and attempts to stage "murderous attacks" on Israel are the impetus for more sanctions.

Tehran is expected to take additional steps away from the nuclear accord Friday and accelerate nuclear activities if Europe fails to provide a solution for Iran to sell its oil abroad following escalated US sanctions.

US President Donald Trump suggested a day earlier he was open to negotiations with Iran.

Netanyahu, facing what could be a tough fight for re-election on September 17, would meet British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and US Defense Secretary Mark Esper while in the British capital, his office said.

It would be his first meeting with Johnson or Esper since the two took up their current posts, his office said in a statement.

"The PM will discuss with British prime minister Johnson the situation in the (Middle East) region and how to repel Iranian terror and aggression," it said.

The meeting with Esper, it added, would focus on "Israel's security needs" after the two had spoken by phone on Tuesday and agreed to "expand their conversation in London".

Israeli media have said the United States and Israel are discussing the possible announcement of some form of defence alliance.

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