German Chancellor Angela Merkel backed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s call to eject Iran from Syria, but disagreed with the Israeli premier’s contentions regarding the nuclear deal with the Islamic Republic.
By: World Israel News Staff
After a 90-minute meeting in Berlin on Monday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin appeared to see eye to eye on the dangers posed by Iran’s military presence in Syria.
To that end, Merkel announced at a press conference with Netanyahu following their meeting, “[We] will exert our influence in such a way that Iran is pushed out of this region,” with Berlin taking a “very close look at Iran’s activities in the region and seek[ing] to contain it,” reported the Jerusalem Post.
In his statement at the press conference, Netanyahu stressed that permitting Iran to operate freely in Syria not only threatens the Jewish state, but also creates conditions that could increase the number of refugees fleeing to Germany.
“The Iranians military presence right now in Syria includes about 18,000 Shi’a militia, commanded by Iranian commanders,” Netanyahu explained. “Iran wants to increase the number of militia to 80,000 and to basically conduct a religious campaign in largely Sunni Syria – which is 96% Sunni – to try to convert the Sunni. This will inflame another religious war, this time a religious war inside Syria, and the consequences would be many, many more refugees, and you know exactly where they will come,” he said.
Notwithstanding their agreement on the dangers Iranian military assets pose in Syria, the two leaders diverged with regard to the Iranian nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
While Merkel recognized the need to investigate evidence Israel extracted from Iran related to the Islamic Republic’s covert nuclear weapons program, she stood by the European position regarding the JCPOA’s ability to contain the Iranian nuclear threat.
Prior to Netanyhau’s arrival, Iranian leader Ali Khamenei declared that Israel is a “malignant cancerous tumor” that should be “removed and eradicated” in a tweet that Merkel and Netanyhau roundly condemned.
Netanyahu referred to these statements, commenting on the Iranian regime’s desire to “destroy another six million-plus Jews.”
Netanyahu finished his remarks at the press conference in Berlin on Monday on a positive note, stating, “The alliance, the relationship between Israel and Germany is an excellent one. It has historic foundations, because of the unique experience that we have undergone here obviously, and the commitment that you and previous German governments, but you sustained it with great vigor and great conviction, your commitment to Israel’s security, the security and the future of the Jewish state, is deeply appreciated by me, by the people of Israel.”
Merkel, for her part, concluded, “There isn’t agreement on all points. But [Israel and Germany] are partners, we’re friends.”