During last week’s World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Netanyahu held closed-door talks with many world leaders, with Iranian threats topping his agenda. Israeli analysts monitoring developments say the Netanyahu-Trump position could have a real impact on Iran’s ballistic missile program.
By: Steve Leibowitz, World Israel News
The issues of the Iran nuclear deal, its ballistic missile program and export of terror were raised by Prime Minister Netanyahu in a series of closed-door meetings last week during the World Economic Forum in Davos. Little content has been leaked after meetings with heads of state from Germany, Canada, Belgium, Switzerland and Azerbaijan. Netanyahu did say that the meetings were important.
“We spoke about the nuclear agreement with Iran. I said that in my opinion, the only option at the moment is to introduce real, rather than cosmetic, amendments that will prevent Iran from building nuclear weapons, which is currently guaranteed under the existing agreement,” Netanyahu told reporters.
Netanyahu called on the leaders to “take advantage of the opportunity created” by US President Donald Trump’s announcement earlier this month that he would no longer sign a certification of Iranian compliance with the nuclear deal, and will impose new sanctions on Iran.
Israeli experts on the Iranian nuclear program did not notice any overt support for the Israeli position with the exception of Trump, who already supports “nixing or fixing” the agreement. Speaking in Davos, Trump called on world leaders to join his efforts to “block Iran’s path to nuclear weapons.” He also urged them to do more to confront the threat posed by Iran’s support for terror groups.
Col. Eran Lerman of the Jerusalem Institute for Strategic Studies told World Israel News (WIN) that while it is too early to say what the impact may be, “the fact that there were meetings at this level, and that world leaders were listening, is a good start.”
Brig.-Gen. Yossi Cooperwasser of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs told WIN, “Trump is giving the world about 100 days to make real changes in the Iran nuclear deal before the US ditches the agreement and starts imposing sanctions.”
Cooperwasser was encouraged that more countries have been expressing their concerns about the Iranian ballistic missile program. “Europe realizes that the missiles could reach the Continent. We wanted to talk about monitoring and the so-called ‘sunset’ period when Iran can breakout nuclear weapons. That is the difference between Israel and Europe,” he said.
Meir Javadanfan, who teaches Iranian Studies at the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya, told WIN, “It remains to be seen if the messages from Trump and Netanyahu were really heard. But what is clear is that the Iranians are not going to agree to change the nuclear agreement.”
“What is possible,” he added, “is that Europe and world powers will impose additional sanctions against Iran for its ballistic missile program and its continued presence in Syria. In those areas we could see some action and progress because of the pressure from Trump and Netanyahu. But to believe that they will get the Europeans to change the nuclear agreement and the ‘sunset clause’ with Iran is simply not going to happen.”