Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called on European leaders Tuesday evening to stop funding Iran, as P4 states recently invited the Iranian president to meet in Europe to discuss ways to bypass US sanctions that are set to be reposed following President Donald Trump's withdrawal from the nuclear deal.
“Here’s my message to the European leaders: Stop funding the very regime that is sponsoring terrorism against you and against so many others. Stop appeasing Iran!” the prime minister told some 2,500 people attending celebrations marking the US’s 242nd year of independence at Airport City.
“Remember that Iran nuclear deal? Remember that? President Trump decided to leave this bad deal and he did the greatest thing for the security of the world and for the security of Israel,” Netanyahu said, prompting cheers and a round of applause from the audience.
“Now, you should know that this is not yet universally accepted and I can tell you that this week there’s going to be a meeting in Europe … by the P4 without the United States. They're going to discuss how to go around the decision that President Trump and the United States made to leave this bad deal which is funding Iran’s terrorism and its aggression with billions of dollars,” continued the Israeli premier, flanked by his wife, Sara, along with the US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman and his wife.
It was extraordinary, Netanyahu said, that the P4 had invited Iranian President Hassan Rouhani to attend the meeting while the Iranian regime recently “dispatched a terrorist cell to carry out a major terrorist action in France.”
The commander of the terror cell, Netanyahu noted, was an Iranian diplomat in Austria.
“At the time of their capture, the cell members had explosives, detonators and more. European authorities are now completing their investigation and are expected to charge the Iranian agents and cell members behind the plot,” he said, adding that while the plot had fortunately been exposed, the terrorists were arrested on the soil of countries that included members of the P4.
“This Iranian terror plot was planned on the soil of Europe in the same week that the European leaders are supposed to meet the president of Iran about circumventing the sanctions on Iran,” Netanyahu continued.
Iran said on Tuesday it could show it had nothing to do with an alleged plot to bomb an Iranian opposition meeting in France, as Austria said it was stripping an Iranian of his diplomatic status after he was arrested in Germany as part of the case.
Iran's Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qasemi said two suspects in Belgium were in fact members of the People's Mujahideen, part of an umbrella bloc of opposition groups in exile that seek an end to Shi’ite Muslim clerical rule in Iran.
"The detainees in Belgium are known members of this terrorist organization and Iranian authorities ... are prepared to provide the necessary documentation to clarify the dimensions of this scenario," said Qasemi, quoted by the state news agency IRNA
Two suspects in Belgium were intercepted by Belgian police on Saturday with 500 grams of the homemade explosive TATP and a detonation device found in their car, Belgian authorities said.
Reuters contributed to this report.