Davos 2018: Netanyahu praises 'extraordinary' alignment against Iran

The Israeli premier said that countries across the Middle East had been brought together because of the threat posed by Iran

Benjamin Netanyahu, Prime Minister of Israel, arrives at a plenary session during the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum, WEF, in Davos, Switzerland, Thursday, Jan. 25, 2018.  (Laurent Gillieron/Keystone via AP)

The looming threat posed by Iran has created alignments across the Middle East that would have been unimaginable ten years ago, Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Thursday.

Mr Netanyahu said there had been a convergence of interests because of a common stance against Iran and a “common enemy” of extremism.

“There’s an alignment of Israel and other countries in the Middle East that would have been unimaginable ten years ago and certainly in my life time,” Mr Netanyahu said during a session of the World Economic Forum. “It’s an extraordinary thing.”

Mr Netanyahu did not identify countries but had been asked about a “closer strategic” alignment with Egypt and Saudi Arabia during the session at Davos, Switzerland.

Both Israel and Saudi Arabia opposed the 2015 nuclear deal struck between Iran and the six world powers to limit its nuclear ambitions and led to the lifting of sanctions. Washington has since imposed new sanctions over Tehran’s long-range missile programme.

Mr Netanyahu said on Thursday that the nuclear deal was so deeply flawed that it guaranteed that Iran would get what it needed to make nuclear weaponry. He said that he didn’t particularly care if the deal was scrapped or fixed but warned: “We will not let them acquire a nuclear weapon.”

Senior Israeli military and political leaders have spoken of cooperating with moderate Arabs, including through the sharing of intelligence, to counter the threat of Iran.

The United States is in talks with the EU about tightening the sanctions regime, the US House of Representatives speaker Paul Ryan told a conference in the UAE on Thursday.

Donald Trump has issued a 120-day ultimatum to come up with a tougher approach to Iran or see full sanctions re-imposed. The US president has called it the “worst deal ever negotiated”.