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Netanyahu Hands Trump PR Win on Iran

01 May 2018

Netanyahu spoke less than two weeks before Trump is to decide whether the USA will pull out of the global agreement between Iran and six world powers that curbed Iran's nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief.

"But the Israeli prime minister has an audience of one: Trump", he added. Two outspoken Iran deal critics, national security adviser John Bolton and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, are now at the president's elbow.

The exchange ratcheted up already heightened tensions between Israel and Iran.

Crude futures flipped into positive territory as Netanyahu addressed reporters in Tel Aviv, saying Israel had obtained secret files showing Iran had been trying to build nuclear weapons.

Netanyahu's theatrical presentation was created to persuade Trump to exit the Iran deal.

Iranian officials on Monday lambasted Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's presentation about Iran's nuclear weapons ambitions as "childish" and "ridiculous". And we can not rely on Iran's promises that it will not develop nuclear weapons when restrictions on its program start to sunset. "We can also prove that Iran is secretly storing Project Amad material to use at a time of its choice to develop nuclear weapons".

Supporters of the Iran deal were silent.

A few pro-Iran deal observers weighed in, mostly arguing that the Iran deal was working - and that it allowed for monitoring Iran's nuclear activities (ignoring the fact that Iran has been able to keep worldwide inspectors out of military sites).

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"The boy who can't stop crying wolf is at it again", Zarif said.

That's because Trump has long proclaimed the Iran accord as "the worst ever".

"I don't think so, though that doesn't mean we won't negotiate a real agreement".

The argument seems to be "Yeah, we knew the Iranians were lying, and we made a deal with them anyway".

Third, if the Israeli dossier stands scrutiny and receives America's endorsement, it will wrongfoot the European chancelleries which have tried to persuade President Trump to preserve the Iran nuclear deal.

Mr Pompeo said the White House was "deeply concerned about Iran's risky escalation of threats towards Israel and the region".

Shortly after Netanyahu's speech ended, Trump was asked whether backing out of the Iran deal sent the right message to North Korea, which is preparing to enter high-level talks with the U.S. over its nuclear program.

"In a few days, Trump will decide what to do with the nuclear deal". Russia's interests are best served by persuading Iran to concede critical points (e.g. on ballistic missile development) to Washington. He also copied the photo of the graphic of a bomb that Netanyahu showed during his speech at the United Nations General Assembly from 2012.

Netanyahu Hands Trump PR Win on Iran