Netanyahu to Discuss Renewed Sanctions on Iran With Trump

  • Israeli prime minister to meet president Feb. 15 in Washington
  • White House spokesman says he’s aware of Iran missile firing

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he will bring up renewed sanctions on Iran when he meets with U.S. President Donald Trump at the White House next month, citing a reported testing of a ballistic missile by the Islamic Republic.

“In my coming meeting with President Trump, I plan to raise the resumption of sanctions against Iran in this context and in other contexts,” Netanyahu said on Twitter. “Iranian aggression will not go unanswered.” Netanyahu will visit the U.S. Feb. 15 for talks with the president, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said at his daily briefing Monday.

Spicer said the White House is aware that Iran has carried out a missile test. The U.S. called for an emergency UN Security Council meeting on Tuesday over the launch, according to an e-mailed announcement.

Netanyahu was one of the most vocal opponents of the successful global effort led by the Obama administration to reach the 2015 deal with Iran that lifted economic sanctions in return for curbs on the Iranian nuclear program. Transportation and Intelligence Minister Israel Katz said on Army Radio that Israel aims to extract a more muscular American approach to Iran under Trump.

A revised UN Security Council resolution negotiated alongside the nuclear accord called on Iran not to carry out any activity related to ballistic missiles “designed to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons.”

Saudi Call

Speaking on Tuesday, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said that Iran’s missiles are not designed to carry nuclear warheads and are solely meant for self defense. He did not confirm whether Iran had carried out a missile test. Iran has repeatedly denied developing a nuclear weapons program.

Iran’s missile program “has nothing to do” with the nuclear agreement, Zarif said in a joint press conference in Tehran with his French counterpart, Jean-Marc Ayrault. “We will not use our weapons against anyone unless it’s in our own defense.”

Trump discussed Iran in a call on Sunday with King Salman of Saudi Arabia, Iran’s main regional rival. The two leaders agreed “on the importance of rigorously enforcing” the nuclear accord, as well as “addressing Iran’s destabilizing regional activities.”

The medium-range missile traveled some 600 miles though its re-entry vehicle was said to explode before the flight ended, according to the New York Times.

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