Diplomacy

European Leaders Back Israel: Iranian Troops Must Leave Syria

A senior Israeli official said Wednesday there is “widespread agreement” among European leaders – German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Emmanuel Macron, and British Prime Minister Theresa May — that Iranian troops must be entirely removed from Syria, The Times of Israel reported.

As Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s diplomatic trip to Berlin, Paris and London approached a close, the Israeli official said there had been “significant progress,” on issues related to Iran. The senior diplomat also said that the three European leaders agreed to Israel’s demand to have the UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) review the Iranian nuclear archives obtained by the Mossad earlier this year.

Before setting out on his trip to Europe, Netanyahu had indicated that Iran would be the first and only subject on his agenda in meetings with European leaders.

When speaking to journalists in London, the Prime Minister said, “my main goal was to bring international agreement that Iran would leave Syria,” and “to harness the leading European countries to oppose the continued expansion of Iran.” He added that Israel’s goal was “To prevent the nuclear program and to smash the cash machine that finances this empire.”

Merkel, in a meeting with Netanyahu on Monday, told her Israeli counterpart that she agrees with Israel’s demand that Iranian forces be removed from Syria, especially in the southwest of the country near the Israeli border.

“Iran’s regional influence is worrying,” Merkel observed, adding, “This is why we feel we ought to make every diplomatic effort we can in order to address the ballistic missile program of Iran but also its activities in Yemen, the presence of its army in Syria, and to exert our influence in such a way that Iran is pushed out of this region, particularly a region close to Israel.”

Despite agreement on Iran’s malign activity in the Middle East, Israel and European countries remain at odds over the JCPOA, the nuclear accord with Iran, that the United States walked away from last month. In their meetings with Netanyahu, the leaders of Germany, France and Britain all reiterated Europe’s intention to remain in the deal.

[Photo: IsraeliPM / YouTube]