TEL AVIV – President Donald Trump is said to have told Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu last week that he would show zero flexibility in renegotiating the Iran nuclear deal with European nations.
According to a report at the Axios news website, Israeli officials said Trump told Netanyahu during their White House meeting that he was demanding “significant changes” to the deal, but that so far, Germany, France and the United Kingdom have only offered “cosmetic changes.”
Among the changes is the removal of the so-called sunset clause and the inclusion of a new clause banning ballistic missile testing. The newly revised agreement would also significantly increase inspection access to Iran’s military sites.
Trump told Netanyahu that if the changes are not made, he will walk away from the accord, Israeli officials told the website.
That same day, Vice President Mike Pence told AIPAC that Trump would withdraw from the agreement if it is not amended.
“Make no mistake about it, this is their last chance. Unless the Iran nuclear deal is fixed in the coming months, the United States of America will withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal immediately,” Pence told the packed convention hall in Washington, DC. “The United States of America will never allow Iran to acquire a nuclear weapon.”
In his speech, Pence echoed Trump’s description of the deal as “disastrous.”
Also at AIPAC, Netanyahu vowed to stop Iran at all costs.
“If I have a message for you today, it is a very simple one: We must stop Iran, we will stop Iran,” he said.
“The president has also made clear that if the fatal flaws of the nuclear deal are not fixed, he will walk away from the deal and restore sanctions,” the prime minister stated. “Israel will be right there by his side, and let me tell you, so will other countries in the region.”
On Sunday, Netanyahu said that the precedent set by Iran could end up “nuclearizing the Middle East” and prompting a dangerous arms race.
“Many countries in the Middle East say that they too should be allowed to enrich uranium if Iran is allowed to,” he stated at the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem.
The prime minister said he warned U.S. officials that “buried within the Iran nuclear deal are many dangers to the world, including a specific danger of nuclearizing the Middle East.”