‘Fix or nix’ Iran deal, Netanyahu tells Trump

Mr. Trump has a May deadline to decide whether to impose nuclear sanctions on Iran again. If he choses to impose sanctions, the deal will collapse.

March 06, 2018 08:29 pm | Updated 09:22 pm IST - Washington:

 U.S. President Donald Trump and Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu make their way to the Oval Office for a meeting at the White House on Monday in Washington, DC.

U.S. President Donald Trump and Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu make their way to the Oval Office for a meeting at the White House on Monday in Washington, DC.

The singular focus of his five-day tour of the United States this week is Iran, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said. He met U.S. President Donald Trump for two and a half hours on Monday, and talks on peace with Palestinians took not more than 15 minutes of it. "Iran, Iran and Iran,” Mr. Netanyahu told a group of reporters, on what they both discussed. "The president is very knowledgeable about Iran," Mr. Netanyahu said.

Mr. Trump has a May deadline to decide whether to impose nuclear sanctions on Iran again. If he choses to impose sanctions, the deal will collapse.

"He has impressive knowledge of the details…The president will decide whether to renew the agreement…He was very interested in my estimations and my recommendations,” Mr. Netanyahu said. "Fully fix, or get rid of it, fully nix. This is what I told him.”

The White House said in a readout on the meeting: “President Trump underscored his goal of countering Iran’s malign influence. The President also emphasized his commitment to achieving a lasting peace deal between Israelis and Palestinians.”

Before the meeting, Mr. Netanyahu lavished praises on Mr. Trump, comparing him to the Persian king who “proclaimed that the Jewish exiles in Babylon can come back and rebuild our temple in Jerusalem…. twenty-five hundred years ago.” According to the PM, Mr. Trump would be remembered by the Jews for ages, for his decision to shift the American embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv.

“If I had to say what is our greatest challenge in the Middle East to both our countries, to our Arab neighbors, it's encapsulated in one word: Iran. Iran has not given up its nuclear ambitions. It came out of this nuclear deal emboldened, enriched. It's practicing aggression everywhere, including on our own borders. And I think we have to stop this country -- the chants, "Death to Israel," "Death to America." Iran must be stopped. That is our common challenge,” Mr. Netanyahu said. Mr. Netanyahu is scheduled to speak at the annual conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee and meet with lawmakers in Washington.

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