Israeli, Greek, Cypriot foreign ministers meet to discuss Iranian terror in Europe

Foreign Minister Eli Cohen met his Greek and Cypriot counterparts on Friday in the Cypriot capital of Nicosia for a trilateral discussion on international and regional developments including Russia’s war on Ukraine and the growing threat of Iranian terrorist activity on European soil. The meeting came just three days after Greece, with the help of the Mossad, foiled a suspected Iranian plot to attack Jewish and Israeli targets in Athens.

The ministers also discussed strengthening trilateral cooperation in areas such as energy, environmental disaster management, security and tourism.

In their meeting, Cohen urged his colleagues to work towards designating the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) as a terrorist organization in the European Union, “especially in light of the Iranian attack that was thwarted in Greece this week against targets Israelis and Jews,” according to a readout of the meeting from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The 27-nation bloc has imposed several rounds of sanctions on Iranian officials and organizations – including government ministers, military officers and Iran’s morality police – over human rights abuses, amid a brutal crackdown on protests that exploded in Iran in mid-September after the death. , while in custody, Mahsa Amini. The EU, however, did not go ahead with designating the IRGC as a terrorist group — as did the US and Canada — despite an appeal from the European Parliament to do so.

Last week, Greek authorities working with the Mossad arrested two Iranian-born Pakistani nationals suspected of planning an attack at a Jewish center in a busy area of ​​central Athens. Greece’s Minister of Public Order Takis Theodorikakos said it was likely that a member of parliament in Iran offered the two suspects money to carry out the attack.

In his talks on Friday with Cypriot Foreign Minister Dr Konstantinos Kombos and Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias, Cohen also drew attention to the presence of Iranian drones in and around Ukraine, where Russia has been at war since February 2022. and using progress. , kamikaze drones manufactured in Iran that have been striking civilian and military targets since last fall.

“Iran is a threat to the world. Iranian terrorism harms the Middle East, Ukraine, Europe, and elsewhere,” the minister said, according to the readout.

A man with an umbrella stands in front of a Jewish center that Greek officials believe was one of the targets of a planned terrorist attack, in central Athens, Tuesday, March 28, 2023. (AP/Thanassis Stavrakis)

According to Channel 12, Cohen told his colleagues that sanctions and diplomacy would not stop Iran’s aggression and that Tehran needed a strong military deterrent.

Israel has repeatedly threatened to resort to military action to stop Iran’s suspected drive toward nuclear weapons, which it considers an existential threat.

“The only thing that has stopped rogue nations from developing nuclear weapons is a credible military threat or credible military action,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said at a national security conference in February. “Credible military action is a necessary and often a sufficient condition. The longer you wait, the harder it becomes. We have waited a very long time.”

Israel is said to have come close to carrying out strikes on Iran’s nuclear facilities on several occasions under previous Netanyahu governments.

European officials fear Iran’s alienation would end the bloc’s slim hopes of reviving the Iran nuclear deal, which has been on ice since the Trump administration withdrew from the internationally-backed deal in 2018. Early US efforts under the Biden administration. to revisit the 2015 deal, which eased sanctions on Iran in exchange for curbs on its nuclear program, has lapsed.

Agencies contributed to this report

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