Israel and Saudis Cheer Trump on Iran Moves While Europe Recoils

(Bloomberg) -- While U.S. President Donald Trump struggles to convince the world to follow his lead on Iran, he’s got at least three key allies firmly on his side.

Blocks away from the UN, where Trump gave a speech Tuesday excoriating the Iranian regime and calling on the world to isolate its economy, the Saudis, Emirates and Israelis got together at a Manhattan hotel for a conference with essentially one theme: confronting Iran.

The head of the Mossad, Israel’s intelligence agency, took the stage for a rare address in public just minutes after Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir and UAE Ambassador Yousef Al Otaiba spoke, in a vivid display of a growing thaw in relations between former Mideast rivals.

And while Israelis and Saudis didn’t shake hands at the event, and made sure to sit at least one seat apart, they all brought the same message to the U.S. and the international community: With the 2015 nuclear deal falling apart, the world needs to crack down on Iranian involvement in Yemen, Syria and Lebanon, which they say poses a more immediate danger to the region.

“If a missile is launched at Saudi Arabia and UAE, what will the reaction be and how will we be defended?” said Al Otaiba, the UAE’s ambassador to Washington “With or without JCPOA, the focus needs to be on Iran’s destabilization,” he said, referring to the Iran nuclear accord.

An Israeli official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s visit to New York this week, which will include meetings with Trump as well as French President Emmanuel Macron, will focus on Iran’s presence in Syria and its transfer of weapons to Hezbollah.

“We have to find a way past this current impasse over the implementation of sanctions,” Michael Singh, managing director of The Washington Institute and a former senior director for Middle East affairs at the National Security Council, said at the conference. “Sanctions aren’t going to push Iran out of Syria. It won’t stop a conflict on the Golan Heights.”

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