‘This is the time to increase pressure on Iran,’ says Netanyahu on way to London

The Israeli premier rejects diplomacy with Tehran as he meets in London with U.K. Prime Minister Johnson and U.S. Defense Secretary Esper. 

By David Jablinowitz, World Israel News

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu flew to London on Thursday morning for talks with his British counterpart Boris Johnson that are expected to concentrate on the issue of confronting Iran.

The Israeli premier is to meet, as well, with the U.S. defense secretary, who is also visiting the British capital.

“This is not the time to hold talks with Iran; this is the time to increase the pressure on Iran,” Netanyahu told reporters at Ben Gurion International Airport outside Tel Aviv before setting out for the U.K.

France’s President Emmanuel Macron has been promoting a dialogue with Iranian officials, and U.S. President Donald Trump has not ruled out a meeting with Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani on the sidelines of the opening of the U.N. General Assembly in New York later in September.

“This morning we were informed of another violation, more defiance, by Iran, this time in its striving to attain nuclear weapons,” said Netanyahu.

Rouhani said late on Wednesday that the Islamic Republic’s atomic energy agency would begin research and development on “all kinds” of centrifuge machines that can more quickly enrich uranium.

Earlier in the day, he proclaimed that Tehran would take a “third step” in violation of its multilateral nuclear deal. He said that the latest measure would be “highly important in nature and will accelerate the activities of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI).”

Iran has been acting in contravention of the 2015 accord that it reached with six world powers, including the Obama administration, following Trump’s withdrawal from the agreement in May 2018 and his reimposition of sanctions.

Tehran’s steps against the agreement have increased as its dissatisfaction with what it views as insufficient European efforts to save the deal has grown.

Iran’s violations have centered around stockpiling highly enriched uranium toward achieving a nuclear weapons-grade capability.

Referring to tensions in the Strait of Hormuz and Israel’s confrontations with the Islamic Republic on multiple fronts in the region, Netanyahu said Thursday that the violation of the nuclear accord “joins Iran’s aggressive acts against international shipping and against countries in the region, as well as its efforts to carry out murderous attacks against the State of Israel, efforts that have not ceased.”

The prime minister said that we would discuss “all of these issues, and others, with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and U.S. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper during my snap visit to London. These are important matters for the State of Israel at all times, but especially now.”

The talks come just 12 days before Netanyahu faces an Israeli general election and the day after the British premier called in the House of Commons for a general election but was turned down by MPs as the Brexit crisis in the U.K. continues.