ISRAEL launched a fresh verbal attack on Iran yesterday when its President called on Germany to join the US in starving “the Iranian beast” and added that it “is the only way to guarantee stability in the world”.
During German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s visit to Israel, Israeli President Reuven Rivlin received her in the disputed city of Jerusalem in the hopes of discussing Iran.
Mr Rivlin hoped to convince the Chancellor to end German business with Iran and to stop circumventing economic restrictions put in place by US President Donald Trump.
While Israel and the US have accused Iran of attempting to destabilise the Middle East by supporting hostile movements, developing ballistic weapons and secretly pursuing nuclear weapons, Germany has been one of the parties involved in trying to salvage the nuclear agreement that was scrapped by the US earlier this year.
Mr Rivlin said: “From our point of view, now is the time to join the effective sanctions on Iran and not to circumvent them.
“The Iranian beast must be starved and not fed.
“This is the only way to guarantee the stability of the world.”
In 2015, Germany, along with the UK, US, Iran, China, France and Russia, formed an agreement which would see Iran limit its nuclear enrichment in exchange for the lifting of economic sanctions that have devastated the Iranian economy for years.
In addition to restricting their nuclear activities, Iran also allowed for their nuclear sites to be monitored by the International Atomic Energy Agency.
This agreement deeply angered Israel and Saudi Arabia as well as conservative politicians in both Washington and Tehran who were suspicious of each other’s intentions.
Then, in 2018, Trump announced the US withdrawal from the agreement stating that Iran was not complying with the deal despite the IAEA finding no evidence of such activities.
In response to the US’s withdrawal, German foreign Minister Heiko Maas suggested the EU form a new payment channel in order to continue providing businesses the opportunity to continue there work in Iran despite Us threats of retaliation.
While Mrs Merkel was hesitant with this idea, the EU announced they would be creating this channel that would not use US dollars or US institutions.
This announcement angered the US and Israel who accused Europe of “appeasing Iran”.
In a speech to the UN General Assembly, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said: “Instead of coddling Iran’s dictators, join the US and Israel and most of the Arab world in supporting new sanctions against a regime that endangers all of us and all of the world.”
Despite opposing views on how to handle Iran, Chancellor Merkel and Prime Minister Netanyahu agreed they both opposed Iran’s presence in Syria.
Mr Netanyahu said: “I know, Angela. that you are committed to a safe and stable Middle East.
“I think that the strong ties between Israel and Germany can serve as an example for this region and for the entire world.
“We overcame the horrors of the past. We never forget them, and you will never forget them.
“But we have transformed our relationship into a warm and constructive friendship.
“That does not mean we have no differences of opinion.”
Mrs Merkel said she and her government are convinced and share Israel’s position in preventing Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons.
She added: “Where we are not always united is on the path to this goal.”