German chancellor Merkel to visit Israel in October

In a visit that will likely involve discussions on the Iranian nuclear threat, Merkel is scheduled to to visit Israel in early October.

By: World Israel News Staff

German German Chancellor Angela Merkel will make her first visit to Israel in almost four years this October, against a backdrop of uncertainty related to the crumbling 2015 Iran nuclear deal.

Following US President Donald Trump’s announcement that the US was exiting the deal, the European Union and its member states communicated their intent to maintain the nuclear agreement, which Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu criticized consistently for its failure to staunch the Islamic Republic’s nuclear ambitions or address its regional aggression and control of terror proxies, including Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

Countries such as Germany, France and Britain, however, have pledged to keep the deal alive, notwithstanding US sanctions against Iran, a leading state-sponsor or terror, and those who do business with Iranian entities.

Merkel has not visited the Jewish State since February 2014, and will return as part of a larger delegation including German cabinet members.

If recent statements by German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas are any indication, Merkel’s nation appears intent on propping up an agreement with Iran. Specifically, Maas advocated on Wednesday a European-run payment system, without US involvement, to benefit Tehran.

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Merkel responded cautiously to Maas’ suggestion, according to an AP report, and also stressed the need to cooperate with Washington to fight terror financing. In the past, Merkel has also signaled that she supports Israel’s position that Iran’s presence in Syria crosses a red line.

While Maas seeks to “to legally protect European companies from [US] sanctions,” which are activated by proscribed business dealings with Iran, Netanyahu will likely lay out Israel’s case for addressing the Iranian threat head-on during Merkel’s visit to the Jewish state in October.