human rights watch

måndag 4 juni 2018

Merkel backs Israel’s demand that Iranian troops be removed from Syria

Merkel backs Israel’s demand that Iranian troops be removed from Syria
Hosting Netanyahu in Berlin, chancellor says Iran's regional influence is 'worrying'; PM warns of 'new religious war' in Mideast.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Monday told Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that she agrees with Israel’s demand that Iranian troops be removed from Syria, especially the area close to the Israeli border.

“Iran’s regional influence is worrying,” she said, adding that her government would use “diplomatic” means to counter it.
Announcing at a joint press conference in Berlin that she and other government representatives planned to visit Israel in early October, Merkel said that “one has to discuss” Tehran’s presence in Syria. She also condemned the Islamic Republic’s heavily anti-Israel tweets.
On Sunday, Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei called the Jewish state the “cancerous tumor” of the region that must be “removed and eradicated.”
This is amazing that in the beginning of the 21st century, somebody talks about destroying Israel,” Netanyahu said. “It means destroying another six million plus Jews. It’s quite extraordinary that this goes on, but this is what we face.”
Merkel said “we sharply condemn what the Iranian leadership said,” but at the same time reiterated her view that the 2015 nuclear agreement was the best way to prevent Iran from developing atomic weapons.
“We are not in agreement on all questions, but we are friends, we are partners,” Merkel said of the visiting Israeli leader.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu address a press conference after a meeting at the Chancellery in Berlin on June 4, 2018. (AFP PHOTO / Tobias SCHWARZ)
US President Donald Trump withdrew from the deal on May 8, with Netanyahu’s enthusiastic encouragement and support.
Both the US and Israel hope that Trump’s withdrawal can lead all sides into addressing what they say are the deal’s shortcomings — including “sunset” provisions that eventually end restrictions on Iranian nuclear activities, such as enriching uranium, as well as permitting Iran to continue to develop long-range missiles.
Merkel, like other European leaders with whom Netanyahu is set to meet later this week, has urged Trump to remain in the deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.
As he took off for Berlin on Monday, the first leg of a series of visits with European leaders, Netanyahu indicated that Iran would be the first and only subject on his agenda.
Intent on winning support for amending the nuclear deal with Iran and getting Iranian troops out of Syria, the prime minister will also meet with French President Emmanuel Macron and British Prime Minister Theresa May, both of whose countries are signatories to the deal.

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