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Netanyahu: Israel convinced Trump to exit Iran nuclear deal

US President Donald Trump (L) and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
US President Donald Trump (L) and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

Israel is convinced US President Donald Trump will exit the Iran nuclear deal, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told Likud party members, according to a recording leaked by Israeli television broadcaster Kan.

In a video clip believed to be filmed two weeks ago, Netanyahu can be seen boasting to party members and activists that Israel alone campaigned against the rest of the international community for the deal to be nixed.

“We convinced the US president [to exit the deal] and I had to stand up against the whole world and come out against this agreement,” Netanyahu says in the video. “And we didn’t give up.”

Netanyahu then proceeds to talk about the Iranian regime, when someone in the audience calls out “It will disappear with the help of God.”

“You said it. From your mouth to God,” Netanyahu replies.

The prime minister did not elaborate on how he persuaded Trump to back out of the agreement though Netanyahu strongly campaigned against its formation during the Obama Administration. Prior to Trump’s pull-out, Netanyahu delivered a dramatic expose on public television, in which he alleged Iran had lied about its nuclear programme and was secretly developing its weapons arsenal.

Read: Iran says if Trump wants to negotiate, he should call

“I said it from the start, it has to be either fully fixed or fully nixed,” Netanyahu said at the time. “But if you do nothing to this deal, if you keep it as is, you will end up with Iran with a nuclear arsenal in a very short time.”

President Trump’s decision to exit the deal was sharply opposed by Iran and the deal’s other signatories, namely Britain, France, Germany, Russia, and China, who are currently working to preserve the accord.

Israel has also expressed concern at the presence of Iranian militias in Syria, with Netanyahu flying to Moscow last week to discuss future plans for Iranian troops in the country, seeking assurance from Russian President Vladimir Putin that forces will be removed from the neighbouring Golan Heights. He also spoke to President Trump via telephone, reportedly asking the president to demand Iran’s exit from Russia at the Helsinki Summit earlier this week.

Following the meeting, Trump announced Monday that discussions with Putin, Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad’s main ally in the conflict, had resulted in a “really good” outcome for Israel’s security.

Read: Iran will only leave Syria when asked by regime, not under Israeli pressure

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