19th Mar 2018

Israel denounces US and EU's Iran diplomacy

  • Netanyahu: "This deal doesn't block Iran’s path to the bomb, it paves Iran’s path to the bomb" (Photo: John Boehner)

The Israeli PM’s anti-Iran speech made a big noise in Washington, but had no immediate impact on US or EU nuclear diplomacy.

Republican Party congressmen, and some Democrats, in the US assembly gave Israel’s Benjamin Netanyahu a roaring endorsement on Tuesday (3 March).

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

  • The event made Netanyahu look important ahead of Israeli elections (Photo: John Boehner)

The Israeli leader said the US and EU-brokered non-proliferation deal, currently being finalised in Switzerland, will “pave the way” for Iran to get nuclear weapons within a “year”, or maybe within “weeks”, if Tehran decides to do so.

He compared Iran to Nazi Germany, and to Isis, the apocalyptic Islamist cult in Iraq and Syria.

He also described Iran as a threat to Israel, to US citizens, and to “all humanity”, adding “the days when Jewish people remain passive in the face of genocidal enemies are over”.

US president Barack Obama boycotted Netanyahu’s visit. More than 50 congressmen from the ruling Democratic Party also boycotted the speech.

They did it because they saw it as politicking ahead of Israeli elections.

They also saw it as a Republican attempt to discredit Obama, with the Netanyahu event organised by the Republican speaker in Congress against White House wishes.

For its part, Iran reacted mildly.

Its UN ambassador, Gholamali Khoshroo, wrote in the New York Times that Netanyahu’s “scaremongering” is “a smoke screen that relegates the Palestinian question to the margins”. He added that Israeli “aggression and … occupation” of Palestine feeds Isis-type radicalism.

But the event did not disrupt the so-called E3+3 nuclear talks.

US secretary of state John Kerry told media in Geneva on Tuesday: "We're working away. Productively”.

The EU foreign relations chief, Federica Mogherini, who chairs the E3+3 meetings after her predecessor, Catherine Ashton, became her unpaid advisor, sided with Obama.

"Spreading fears is not helpful at this stage," she said on the Netanyahu speech, AFP reports.

Its immediate impact on E3+3 aside, the Obama-Netanyahu rift does pose questions for US, and by extension, EU policy in the Middle East.

Analysts say it makes Netanyahu less likely to launch air strikes on Iran - an option he has repeatedly mentioned - while Obama is in power.

It also makes Obama less likely to try to restart Israeli-Palestinian peace talks if Netanyahu is re-elected.

Alon Ben-Meir, an international relations scholar at New York University, says the EU, in any case, appears happy to hang on to the coat-tails of US policy.

“For all intents and purposes, the US has assumed the leading role and Iran also understands that only the US will have, in the final analysis, the last word on any [nuclear] deal that the parties may agree upon”, he told EUobserver.

He added that the depth of the US-Israel rift shouldn’t be exaggerated.

The State Department, one week prior to Netanyahu’s inflammatory visit, asked Congress for another $3 billion in aid for Israel.

Ben-Meir noted that Obama and Netanyahu fundamentally agree that Iran must be stopped from establishing hegemony in the region.

“The Obama administration … is currently developing a strategy of containment not related only to the prospect that Iran may obtain [nuclear] weapons, but also on how to contain the fallout of a potential US military strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities should that option become necessary", he said.

He also said there are limits to how far the US will push Israel to make peace with Palestine.

“The US, not now or at any time in the future, will impose sanctions on Israel, nor would it encourage the EU to do so”.


Time for EU to hand Iran dossier to Mogherini

Institutions matter more than personalities in the Iran talks. Ashton did a good job, but it's time for the EU to show it has faith in its new foreign policy chief by giving the Iran job to Mogherini.

US and EU bring Iran in from the cold

The US and EU have agreed to lift most sanctions on Iran in return for a 15-year freeze on uranium enrichment and full access for UN inspectors

EU diplomats unsure how to handle Netanyahu

EU diplomats are hoping Israel’s PM didn’t mean what he said on the two-state solution. But if he did, they have few ideas how to change his mind.


Four years on – but we will not forget illegally-occupied Crimea

Together with many other partners, including the United States, Canada and Norway, the European Union has implemented a policy of non-recognition and sanctions regimes, targeting people and entities that have promoted Russia's illegal annexation.

News in Brief

  1. Sweden emerges as possible US-North Korean summit host
  2. Google accused of paying academics backing its policies
  3. New interior minister: 'Islam doesn't belong to Germany'
  4. Hamburg 'dieselgate' driver wins case to get new VW car
  5. Slovak deputy PM asked to form new government
  6. US, Germany, France condemn 'assault on UK sovereignty'
  7. MEPs accept Amsterdam as seat for EU medicines agency
  8. Auditors: EU farm 'simplification' made subsidies more complex

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Counter BalanceConmtroversial Turkish Azerbaijani Gas Pipeline Gets Major EU Loan
  2. World VisionSyria’s Children ‘At Risk of Never Fully Recovering', New Study Finds
  3. Macedonian Human Rights MovementMeets with US Congress Member to Denounce Anti-Macedonian Name Negotiations
  4. Martens CentreEuropean Defence Union: Time to Aim High?
  5. UNESDAWatch UNESDA’s President Toast Its 60th Anniversary Year
  6. AJC Transatlantic InstituteAJC Condemns MEP Ana Gomes’s Anti-Semitic Remark, Calls for Disciplinary Action
  7. EPSUEU Commissioners Deny 9.8 Million Workers Legal Minimum Standards on Information Rights
  8. ACCAAppropriate Risk Management is Crucial for Effective Strategic Leadership
  9. EPSUWill the Circular Economy be an Economy With no Workers?
  10. European Jewish CongressThe 2018 European Medal of Tolerance Goes to Prince Albert II of Monaco
  11. FiscalNoteGlobal Policy Trends: What to Watch in 2018
  12. Human Rights and Democracy NetworkPromoting Human Rights and Democracy in the Next Eu Multiannual Financial Framework

Latest News

  1. Brexit and trade will top This WEEK
  2. Dutch MPs in plan to shut EU website on Russian propaganda
  3. Four years on – but we will not forget illegally-occupied Crimea
  4. Evacuated women from Libya arrive newly-pregnant
  5. Merkel in Paris for eurozone reform talks
  6. Commission rejects ombudsman criticism over Barroso case
  7. Western allies back UK amid Russian media blitz
  8. Meet the European Parliament's twittersphere

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Mission of China to the EUDigital Cooperation a Priority for China-EU Relations
  2. ECTACompetition must prevail in the quest for telecoms investment
  3. European Friends of ArmeniaTaking Stock of 30 Years of EU Policy on the Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict: How Can the EU Contribute to Peace?
  4. ILGA EuropeCongratulations Finland!
  5. EUobserverNow Hiring! Sales Associate With 2+ Years Experience
  6. EUobserverNow Hiring! Finance Officer With Accounting Degree or Experience
  7. UNICEFCyclone Season Looms Over 720,000 Rohingya Children in Myanmar & Bangladesh
  8. European Gaming & Betting AssociationEU Court: EU Commission Correct to Issue Guidelines for Online Gambling Services
  9. Mission of China to the EUChina Hopes for More Exchanges With Nordic, Baltic Countries
  10. Macedonian Human Rights MovementCondemns Facebook for Actively Promoting Anti-Macedonian Racism
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersGlobal Seed Vault: Gene Banks Gather to Celebrate 1 Million Seed Collections
  12. CECEIndustry Stakeholders Are Ready to Take the Lead in Digital Construction