Netanyahu: Economic Pressure Will Kill Off Iran Nuclear Deal

PARIS (Reuters/AP) -
Netanyahu Macron
French President Emmanuel Macron escorts Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu as he leaves the Élysée Palace in Paris, Tuesday. (Reuters/Philippe Wojazer)

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said on Tuesday he had not asked France to leave the 2015 Iran nuclear deal because he believed the accord would not survive after the United States pulled out of the deal and re-imposed sanctions on Tehran.

“I didn’t ask France to withdraw from the JCPOA (Iran deal) because I think it is basically going to be dissolved by the weight of economic forces,” Netanyahu told a joint news conference with French President Emmanuel Macron.

Netanyahu and Macron stuck to their opposing views on the Iran deal at the press conference.

Macron said France will continue to work with the existing deal, which it considers the best way to control Iran’s nuclear activity. The French president said he doesn’t see how exiting the nuclear deal would help improve regional stability.

How can one “think that a total absence of controls and commitments is better than the 2015 framework?” he asked.

Iran informed the U.N. nuclear watchdog on Tuesday that it will increase its nuclear enrichment capacity within the limits set by the 2015 agreement.

Macron on Tuesday also raised the issue of the Palestinian territories, expressing his “condemnation of any form of violence toward civilians and in particular, these past few weeks in Gaza.”

Both leaders then headed to the nearby Grand Palais to inaugurate an exhibit on Israeli innovations, as part of a series of events commemorating the 70th anniversary of Israel’s founding.