‘Israel is countering Iranian aggression,’ Netanyahu tells Pompeo in Lisbon

Netanyahu thanked Pompeo for the U.S.’ recent announcement on Judea and Samaria and stressed the need to confront Iran’s influence in the region.

By World Israel News Staff

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Wednesday evening, on the heels of the Israeli leader’s harsh criticism of European countries who are sidestepping United States President Donald Trump’s sanctions on Iran.

“They should be ashamed of themselves,” Netanyahu told reporters before boarding a plane on Wednesday to meet Pompeo in Lisbon.

“While people are risking their lives and dying in the streets of Tehran, they are giving support to this tyrannical regime. The tyrants of Tehran should not be supported, they should be pressured,” he said.

Netanyahu was referring to the Instrument In Support Of Trade Exchanges (INSTEX), a European Union-backed system created by Germany, France, and the U.K. to help European countries facilitate trade with Iran in spite of U.S. sanctions. INSTEX is essentially a barter arrangement operating outside of the U.S. dominated global financial system that shields European companies from U.S. sanctions related penalties.

Last week, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, the Netherlands, Norway, and Sweden announced their intentions to join INSTEX.

In June, European Union Foreign Policy Chief Federica Mogherini said in a statement that INSTEX has been launched.

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Nn addition to sanctions, Netanyahu also addressed the Iranian threat directly during the press conference with Pompeo on Wednesday, stating, “We’ve been fortunate that President Trump has led a consistent policy of pressure against Iran. Iran is increasing its aggression as we speak, even today, in the region. They’re trying to have staging grounds against us and the region from Iran itself, from Iraq, from Syria, from Lebanon, Gaza, and Yemen and we are actively engaged in countering that aggression.”

The prime minister added, “The Israeli-American policy is key to that effort, that serves the purposes of many, many countries in the region. That will be the first subject that I will raise, including the ability to strengthen even further our mutual defense.”

Besides discussing Iran, the prime minister is expected to raise his proposal to Pompeo of annexing the West Bank’s Jordan Valley, the Associated Press reports.

According to the Associated Press, “Netanyahu has argued that Pompeo’s announcement last month on settlements has created a ‘once-in-a-lifetime opportunity’ to annex the strategic area. … Netanyahu said the policy shift ‘rights a historical wrong.'”

On Monday, Netanyahu said that he spoke to Trump about annexing the Jordan Valley.

“We talked about Iran, but we also talked at length about historic opportunities that stand before us in the coming months — among them are [establishing] the Jordan Valley as the recognized eastern border of the State of Israel, as well as a defense treaty with the United States. Things we could only dream of, but now we have the opportunity to realize them,” Netanyahu said at the time.