May says UK committed to two-state solution
Netanyahu says Iran 'threatens the world'
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has welcomed new sanctions imposed by the Trump administration on Iran, saying its continued nuclear weapons program posed to a threat to the world.
Speaking in London as he met British Prime Minister Theresa May, Netanyahu said Iran sought to “conquer the Middle East” and had to be reined in.
He called for “responsible nations” to follow the lead of the US, which last week imposed fresh sanctions in response to Iran’s latest ballistic missile test.
Iran “seeks to conquer the Middle East, it threatens Europe, it threatens the West, it threatens the world. And it offers provocation after provocation,” Netanyahu said.
Addressing May, Netanyahu added: “That’s why I welcome President Trump’s insistence on new sanctions against Iran. I think other nations should follow suit, certainly responsible nations, and I’d like to talk to you about how we can ensure Iran’s aggression does not go unanswered.”
Iran denies the January 29 test violated a UN resolution, saying that it had a right to carry out such exercises in defense of its country.
Netanyahu has been staunchly opposed to a nuclear deal with Iran, brokered by the Obama administration, that saw sanctions on the country relaxed in exchange for a dramatic downsizing of Iran’s nuclear program. The Israeli leader has called the accord “weak.”
A Downing Street spokesperson said that Britain shared concerns about Iran’s missile test.
“It was discussed at the UN and we made clear our position. With regard to the specific agreement relating to the nuclear weapons … it’s important that it is very carefully and rigorously policed. We should also be clear that it has neutralized the possibility of the Iranians acquiring nuclear weapons for more than a decade.”
West Bank settlement
May is expected to tell Netanyahu that plans to build new housing units and settlements in the occupied West Bank undermines the Middle East peace process, the same spokesperson told reporters.
May reiterated Britain’s commitment to a two-state solution to Netanyahu. “It’s the best way to building stability and peace and prosperity for the future,” May said.
Israel has announced plans to build more than 6,000 new homes in the West Bank and East Jerusalem in the last three weeks.
In addition, the government has said it will build an entirely new settlement in the West Bank, the first of its kind in 20 years, though it gave few details on the project.
The settlement program is illegal under international law because the West Bank is considered occupied territory, though Israel disputes that insists the status of the West Bank is more ambiguous than international law allows.
Netanyahu’s meeting with May also comes just hours before Israel’s parliament looks set to vote on a bill that would retroactively legalize many illegal dozens of settler outposts in the West Bank.
Settler outposts are considered illegal under both Israeli and international law.
Also on the agenda for the meeting is the Syrian conflict, cybersecurity and trade.