Netanyahu: Israel Welcomes President’s New Stance on Iran

YERUSHALAYIM -
President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. (AP Photo/Sebastian Scheiner, File)

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu congratulated President Donald Trump for his remarks on Iran’s failure to live up to its commitments in the agreement on nuclear development it signed with Western powers. In a statement recorded Friday before the beginning of Shabbos, prior to Trump’s speech – about which Netanyahu was briefed in advance – the prime minister called Trump’s speech “brave,” and added that “one thing is for certain: If the agreement with Iran remains as it is, it means the top terror regime in the world will have a nuclear arsenal at its disposal, which would be a terrible danger for our collective futures.”

In the speech, President Trump slammed Iran for failing to live up to the conditions in the 2015 deal it signed to suspend its nuclear enrichment program. “As I have said many times, the Iran deal was one of the worst and most one-sided transactions the United States has ever entered into,” President Trump said in the Friday speech. Iran, he said, had “failed to meet our expectations in its operations of advanced centrifuges,” and “intimidated” international inspectors into not conducting thorough inspections of its nuclear facilities.

The 2015 deal was not brought before Congress for approval, and as such does not constitute an international agreement or treaty; in lieu of Congressional approval, the president is supposed to bring recertify it every three months. Trump said that he would not do so in the future, and urged Congress to develop a replacement agreement that the U.S. could present to other Western powers to replace the current flawed agreement. “We cannot and will not make this certification. We will not continue down a path whose predictable conclusion is more violence, more terror and the very real threat of Iran’s nuclear breakout,” Trump said. “I am directing my administration to work closely with Congress and our allies to address the deal’s many serious flaws so that the Iranian regime can never threaten the world with nuclear weapons.”

In his remarks, Netanyahu said that Trump has “provided an opportunity to repair this difficult agreement, to turn the clock back on Iran’s intimidation, and to deal with the criminal support of terror. Israel subscribes to this point of view, and urges all responsible governments that are interested in peace and security to do so as well.”

Also commenting in advance on the speech was Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan, who said that “the Obama era, in which the United States concentrated only on the technical details of the Iranian deal while ignoring its support of terror and development of ballistic missiles, is over. The decision by President Trump to act against the terror of the Iranian regime is important, as it constitutes a realization that Iran has only gotten more dangerous. We must present to Congress our ideas on how to change Iran’s behavior.”