Netanyahu urges May to follow Trump's lead on Iran sanctions

The Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu will push for tougher global action against Iran, when he meets UK Premier Theresa May in London later Monday, ahead of his talks with Donald Trump next week. The U.S. president, who has denounced the pact as a "disaster" and said he will scrap it or renegotiate it, imposed new penalties on Iran on Friday after it acknowledged carrying out a ballistic missile test. "It seeks to conquer the Middle East, it threatens Europe, it threatens the West, it threatens the world".

Over the weekend, the Trump administration announced new sanctions against several companies and individuals involved in Iran's ballistic missile program, saying he's putting Iran "on notice". Netanyahu told his cabinet the topic of Iran would be a diplomatic priority especially considering the arrival of Donald Trump in the White House me be the ideal situation to pick appart the Nuclear deal struck between Iran and the USA under the Obama administration.

Before going into No 10, Netanyahu took the rare step of using the traditional "warm words" in front of the cameras to make clear that he wants Britain to take action against Iran.

He said he aims to speak to both the British government and the United States, in a visit "next week", about "tightening relations" with Israel.

Mrs May said she made the Government's "position clear" when the two leaders met at Number 10 on Monday for talks.

The Trump administration has shifted the USA stance on the illegal activity - stating that existing settlements were not a barrier to peace between Israel and Palestine.

Israel has seen Trump as more tolerant of its settlement policies, and following his January 20 inauguration it announced plans to build more than 6,000 new apartments in the West Bank.

A spokeswoman for May said the two leaders would "talk about a range of security and worldwide issues, including the Middle East peace process". I think there are challenges there but there are some new and interesting opportunities because of these regional and global changes. He planned to return to Israel in time to vote for the proposed legislation, he said.

Downing Street said May would restate the UK's opposition to more Jewish settlement building in the West Bank - but before their behind-closed-doors talks, the prime minister was being diplomatic.

  • Joey Payne