Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu travelled to Lisbon this morning (December 4) for a slated-meeting with his Portuguese counterpart Antonio Costa, although the one-day trip is primarily focused on talks with visiting-U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
While speaking to reporters ahead of his departure, Netanyahu elaborated on the importance of his summit with the top American diplomat, saying it would be a “continuation” of the conversation centered on Iran that he held with U.S. President Donald Trump this past Sunday (December 1). He disclosed that he will also discuss “The defensive alliance with the US, which I would like to advance, and future American recognition of applying Israeli sovereignty to the Jordan Valley.” After defining those topics as “very important issues” that are continually being addressed, Netanyahu said there were additional topics he would discuss with Pompeo, of which he would not detail.
In response to a journalist’s question about the latest developments pertaining to confronting the Islamic Republic of Iran, the Premier said that due to the “tremendous pressures and sanctions” imposed by Washington, “We’re seeing the Iranian empire totter. We see demonstrations in Tehran, demonstrations in Baghdad, demonstrations in Beirut.” After stressing that “It’s important to increase this pressure against Iranian aggression,” Netanyahu noted that “We also see that Iran wants to march forward with nuclear bombs development and ballistic missile development, including precision-guided munition” – which he insisted “This has to be countered and the way to counter it is more pressure.”
The Israeli leader also reiterated his frustration with the collective decision by Belgium, Denmark, Finland, the Netherlands, Norway and Sweden to join the Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges (INSTEX) with Iran, a mechanism designed to bypass the crippling punitive measures the U.S. enacted against the Islamic Republic. “I said, and I repeat it here today, they should be ashamed of themselves,” said Netanyahu. “While people are risking their lives and dying on the streets of Tehran, they are giving sustenance and support to this tyrannical regime,” he added, emphasizing that “The tyrants of Tehran should not be supported now. They should be pressured.”