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Katz calls for action against Iran at DC NATO summit

Israel's foreign minister met with his American counterpart Antony Blinken and U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken meets with Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz in Tel Aviv on Jan. 9, 2024. Credit: Chuck Kennedy/U.S. State Department.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken meets with Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz in Tel Aviv on Jan. 9, 2024. Credit: Chuck Kennedy/U.S. State Department.

Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz called for action against Iran in meetings with international leaders at the opening of the NATO summit in Washington on Tuesday.

The minister met with his U.S. counterpart Antony Blinken on the sidelines of the conference, which is taking place until Thursday at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center to mark the 75th anniversary of the military alliance.

He also met on Tuesday night with U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock, Canadian Foreign Minister Mélanie Joly and Czech Foreign Minister Jan Lipavský.

According to his office, Katz emphasized the need to counter the shared Iranian threat.

“Our enemy is also your enemy. The Iranian missiles and UAVs that threaten us are being sent to Russia and threaten you too. Crippling sanctions must be imposed on Iran, and the [Islamic] Revolutionary Guards must be declared a terrorist organization,” he said.

While the conference title is “Ukraine and Transatlantic Security,” Katz said before departing Israel on Sunday night that he would bring attention to the Iranian threat.

“I am going to Washington tonight to represent the State of Israel with one clear goal: to warn dozens of leaders and foreign ministers that they must stand up now with full force and determination against Iran,” he said, according to the ICE news portal.

“The Iranian drones and missiles that are attacking Ukraine and threatening Europe are the same Iranian drones and missiles that tried to hit Israel on April 14. We have a common enemy and that is the Iranian regime,” he said.

Katz also discussed the recent elections in Iran, urging the international community to increase pressure on the mullahs, after reformist Masoud Pezeshkian won the Islamic Republic’s second-round presidential vote.

“The Iranian people sent a clear message of demand for change and resistance to the ayatollah regime through the elections—and precisely now the Western world needs to impose severe sanctions on Iran, increase the pressure on the Iranian regime, demand the cancellation of the nuclear program, [that Iran] stop supporting the terrorist organizations, and call the [Islamic] Revolutionary Guards by their real name—the biggest terrorist organization in the world,” he added.

Pezeshkian on Monday reaffirmed Tehran’s dedication to destroying Israel, saying its proxies across the region will not allow the Jewish state’s “criminal policies” to continue.

“The Islamic Republic has always supported the resistance of the people of the region against the illegitimate Zionist regime. The support of the resistance is rooted in the fundamental policies of the Islamic Republic,” Pezeshkian wrote in a missive to Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah.

“I am certain that the resistance movements in the region will not allow this regime to continue its warmongering and criminal policies against the oppressed people of Palestine and other nations of the region,” Iranian media quoted the supposed reformer president as saying.

On Wednesday, Katz is expected to meet with U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham and other foreign ministers.

Katz will also take part in two events hosted by President Joe Biden and another event hosted by Blinken.

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization was founded on April 4, 1949. Headquartered in Brussels, it currently includes 32 member states, all in Europe except for the United States and Canada.

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