Trump keeps focus on Iran upon meeting Netanyahu, addresses intel leak to Russia

May 23, 2017 Agencies
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President Donald Trump continued his focus on Iran during his meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at Jerusalem’s King David Hotel on Monday, while also briefly touching on the intelligence situation with Russia. 

President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Photo: Amos Ben-Gershom

“Iran will never have nuclear weapons, that I can tell you,” Trump told reporters, adding Iran should be “grateful” for the benefits of the nuclear deal it signed with world powers in 2015.

“We gave [the Iranians] great wealth and prosperity,” Trump said.

Trump also waded into the sensitive subject of the intelligence leak to Russian officials earlier this month, saying he never mentioned Israel during his meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Ambassador to the U.S. Sergey Kislyak May 10 in the Oval Office, where he reportedly divulged classified information on the Islamic State terror group that was provided by Israel.

“Never mentioned it (Israel) during the conversation, they’re all saying I did, so you (the media) had another story wrong. Never mentioned the word Israel,” Trump said.

Netanyahu said he regards U.S.-Israel intelligence cooperation as “terrific.”

The full media conference:

Prime Minister Netanyahu:  Mr. President, it’s a pleasure to see you again. I know you went to the Western Wall and you touched the stones of our existence, and you’re the first acting American president to do that, and I have to express our appreciation not only for that, but also for your friendship for the State of Israel, your understanding of our story, our struggle, our desire for peace – which is all of these things I’d like to talk to you about, including Iran, including Syria, including the Palestinians, including the wonderful cooperation between our two countries, and anything else that you could discuss.”

 US President Trump: “Well, it’s just been an honor to be here. The Western Wall was just incredible, being there. I spent time and your folks have been so nice. As you know, I’ve been a big supporter of Israel for a long time. I’ve been a big supporter of yours for a long time. But it’s just a magnificent place, with magnificent people. Many, many friends come from Israel, my great friends come from Israel, and I’m very honored to be here.

I was just told I’m the first active president been to the Western Wall, and that’s a great honor. I was just told that. That to me is a great honor, and thank you very much. I know we’re going to have a meeting in a little while, which is momentarily, and ideally we’re going to work at a couple of things.

I just left – I will say, I just left Saudi Arabia. The King… We had an amazing two days and their feeling towards Israel is really very positive. Tremendous progress has been made. I think a lot of that progress has been made because of the aggression of Iran and it’s forcing people together in a very positive way. And if you look at King Salman and Saudi Arabia and others that I was with – the UAE and Bahrain and Kuwait and so many others, it was something. It was very historic, what took place over the last two days. But I could see a much deeper path to friendship with Israel, and I think a lot of that’s spurred on whatever it takes, but a lot of it’s spurred on by what’s happening with Iran. So progress has been made.”

 Prime Minister Netanyahu:

“I think that the fact that you’ve taken a very strong position on Iran, different position, not only helps security, but also helps propel the possibility of reconciliation and peace between Israel and the Arab world. And that will help reconciliation between Israel and the Palestinians. Of course, not all of that I like to discuss before the cameras but I do look forward to our discussions, which I think are pregnant with possibility.”

 President Trump: “Iran should be very grateful to the United States, because Iran negotiated a fantastic deal with the previous administration – a deal that is unbelievable from any standpoint. Some people don’t understand even how it could be even thought of. And instead of being thankful and saying “thank you,” because they were in serious trouble, and I think they would have failed, totally failed within six months, we gave them a life line, and we not only gave them a life line, we gave them wealth and prosperity, and we also gave them an ability to continue with terror. And with all of the things they’ve been doing. Because no matter where we go, we see the signs of Iran in the Middle East.”

 Prime Minister Netanyahu:  “Everywhere.”
President Trump: “No matter where we go, whether it’s Syria, where we were really forced to shoot the 59 missiles a few weeks ago. No matter what area we’re in, we see Yemen, Iraq, no matter where we are, we see the signs, every sign, whether it’s soldiers, whether it’s money and guns, it’s Iran. And instead of saying thank you to the United States, they now feel emboldened. Maybe they figure the deal was so good, we can do it every time. They can’t do it. Believe me. But it was a terrible, a terrible thing for the United States to enter that deal, and believe me, Iran will never have a nuclear weapon, that I can tell you.” contributed to this report


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