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Netanyahu calls for new sanctions against Iran

At talks in London, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netayahu has called for "responsible nations" to stand up to Iran. His British counterpart, Theresa May, was under pressure to condemn Israel's settlement expansion.

On Monday, Benjamin Netanyahu welcomed US President Donald Trump's introduction of new sanctions against Iran and said other "responsible nations" should follow suit in view of what he called Iran's recent "defiant aggression."

"Iran seeks to annihilate Israel; it says so openly. It seeks to conquer the Middle East; it threatens Europe; it threatens the West; it threatens the world," Netanyahu said during a meeting with British Prime Minister Theresa May in London.

"I'd like to talk to you on how we can ensure that Iran's aggression does not go unanswered," he told May, apparently referring to Iran's test of a ballistic missile last week.

 The Trump administration said Iran was formally "on notice" after the test, and the president has also voiced opposition to the Iran nuclear deal with major international powers.

Netanyahu is also a fierce opponent of the 2015 deal, which Britain also signed. The agreement saw Iran pledge to curb its nuclear program in return for sanctions relief.

When asked whether Britain was considering new sanctions, a spokeswoman for May said "the prime minister made clear that we support the deal on nuclear that was agreed."

"What happens now is that it needs to be properly enforced, and we also need to be alert to Iran's pattern of destabilizing activity in the region," the spokeswoman said.

Israel and Iran have been bitter enemies for well over two decades.

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Different agendas

Ahead of the talks between May and Netanyahu, Britain said it wanted Monday's negotiations to focus on trade ties as it seeks to bolster trade relations outside the European Union for when it leaves the bloc. The two leaders agreed to set up working groups to continue developing trade ties between the two countries. 

May's spokeswoman said the two leaders would also "talk about a range of security and international issues, including the Middle East peace process."

The spokeswoman said May would voice concern about how the "continued increase of settlements activity undermines trust." At the beginning of the meeting, the prime minister said the UK remained "committed to a two-state solution as the best way of brokering stability and peace."

Israel has stepped up its expansion of settlements in the Palestinian territories since the inauguration of Trump, who is perceived as sympathetic to settlement building.

Palestinians say the settlements in the West bank and east Jerusalem, which are home to 600,000 Israelis, are making a two-state solution harder to achieve, a position that has wide international backing and was also held by Trump's predecessor, Barack Obama.

tj/rt (AFP, AP)

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