Israeli PM Netanyahu in Paris to press French President Macron on Iran

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will hold talks with French President Emmanuel Macron Thursday, hoping to gain support against Iran’s nuclear program but shadowed by an upsurge of violence in the region.

Israel’s Paris embassy said the pair would discuss “the international effort to stop the Iranian nuclear program.”

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Netanyahu hopes that Iran’s role supplying drones to Russian invaders in Ukraine as well as the crackdown on protests at home will prompt Western allies to drop any pursuit of a revival of the 2015 deal over its atomic drive.

The prime minister has also said Israel is considering sending military aid to Ukraine, apparently dropping its previously more neutral stance over the conflict.

France agrees that “firmness” is needed in dealings with Iran, a diplomatic source told AFP, calling its nuclear program “dangerous” and highlighting its role in the Ukraine war.

Tehran also holds several foreign nationals who Western governments see as political hostages.

But Macron’s office said the French leader would “reiterate (to Netanyahu) the need for all sides to avoid measures likely to feed the cycle of violence” between Israelis and Palestinians -- while offering “France’s solidarity with Israel in the face of terrorism.”

Netanyahu visits as Israelis and Palestinians exchanged rockets and missiles over Gaza, the latest violent episode as the conflict intensifies.

A week ago, seven were killed in a mass shooting by a Palestinian at a synagogue in annexed east Jerusalem - one day after an Israeli raid in the West Bank killed 10 Palestinians.

No press conference is planned around the Macron-Netanyahu dinner starting at 1900 GMT at the French president’s Elysée Palace office.

In France until Saturday, Netanyahu is also set to meet French business chiefs and leaders of the country’s Jewish community, the Israeli embassy said.

Read more:

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Israeli forces kill two Palestinians during new violence

Blinken stresses countering Iran, affirms need for two-state solution to Netanyahu

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