Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says ongoing cooperation with Saudi Arabia against Iran is a greater priority and a larger problem than Riyadh’s “horrendous” murder of its critic Jamal Khashoggi in Turkey.
Netanyahu made the remarks on Friday as his first public reaction to the premeditated assassination of Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.
“What happened at the Istanbul consulate was horrendous and it should be duly dealt with. But at the same time, it is very important for the stability of the region and the world that Saudi Arabia remain stable,” the Israeli premier said in Sofia, Bulgaria.
He referred to Iran as “a larger problem” compared with the assassination of Khashoggi, and called for finding a way to deal with the case which does not disrupt cooperation with Saudi Arabia against Iran.
The remarks came shortly after The Washington Post revealed on Thursday that Netanyahu has asked US President Donald Trump to continue supporting Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman despite accusations that he ordered a hit job on Khashoggi last month. The Israeli PM had asked top US officials recently not to abandon their support for bin Salman over the killing of Khashoggi, according to multiple reports.
According to The Washington Post, Netanyahu has specifically told the White House that the crown prince is a key strategic partner and a linchpin of the US-Israeli front against Iran’s regional influence.
Later on Thursday, it was also reported that bin Salman had met with a delegation of pro-Israeli advocates in Riyadh, led by Joel C. Rosenberg, a dual US-Israeli author and activist who runs the Jashua Fund pro-Israeli charity.
Mike Evans, founder of the Friends of Zion Museum in Jerusalem al-Quds, was also among the participants of the meeting.
In his Friday comments in Bulgaria, Netanyahu said the Khashoggi case should not distract the world from ensuring that Iran does not continue what he called “malign activities it has been engaged in over the last few weeks in Europe.”
“Blocking Iran is at the top of our agenda for security, not merely for Israel but I believe for Europe and the world as well,” he added.
Netanyahu’s comments alluded to the accusations leveled against the Islamic Republic regarding two alleged assassination and bombing plots in France and Denmark, which Iran calls ‘false flags’ launched by the Israeli spy agency.
“We have helped uncover two terrorist attacks — one in Paris, and the other one in Copenhagen, organized by the Iranian secret service,” Netanyahu claimed, once again admitting that the accusations raised by Belgium and Denmark against Iran had been triggered by the Israeli regime.
Back in June, Belgian authorities said that Iranian diplomat Assadollah Assadi had been arrested over suspicions of plotting a bomb attack on a meeting of the terrorist Mujahedin Khalq Organization (MKO). Germany later extradited the Iranian diplomat to Belgium.
Swedish police also said a Norwegian citizen of Iranian descent had been arrested on October 21 in connection with the alleged plot and extradited to Denmark.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Wednesday said such “false flags” by Tel Aviv will fail to hurt Tehran’s ties with the world.
In a tweet, Zarif said, “Mossad’s perverse & stubborn planting of false flags (more on this later) only strengthens our resolve to engage constructively with the world.”
Zarif later posted a “chronology of a Mossad program to kill the JCPOA”, and suggested that the events are not “incredible series of coincidences”.
The Israeli regime’s warnings about the alleged Iranian plots in Europe are part of its campaign to pressure European nations to take a tougher stance toward Tehran as EU powers – Germany, France, and the UK – are working with Iran against US sanctions.
The European efforts to maintain business relations with Iran come as the US and its regional allies have been working hard to convince the world to cooperate in the implementation of new sanctions to be imposed on Iran on November 5.