President Isaac Herzog on Monday urged a group of 100 British lawmakers to make sure their government remains tough on Iran as world powers prepare to restart negotiations in Vienna next week aimed at reviving the multilateral nuclear accord between them.
“Our understanding is that the Iranians are not coming [to Vienna] to do business, rather to rush toward a bomb,” Herzog told the MPs at the Palace of Westminster while on the second day of his visit in the UK.
“It is the duty of the superpowers to be strong and make it clear that all options are on the table,” he added, in an apparent reference to Israel’s consistent demand that countries present a credible military threat against Iran.
“I urge all parties to be as tough as possible with Iran,” Herzog said.
The president also asserted that it was Iranian involvement — in the form of its backing for Hezbollah and Hamas — that led to the collapse of both Lebanon and Gaza. “Gaza has been kidnapped by Hamas and is receiving instructions from Iran’s coalition of hate,” Herzog said.
Last week, London announced that it was designating the entirety of Hamas as a terror organization and outlaw support for the group. Herzog thanked the British lawmakers for the decision.
Present on the UK side were UK Minister of State for Middle East and North Africa James Cleverly; MPs Eric Pickles, Bob Blackman and Steve McCabe; and former opposition leader and ex-Conservative Party head Michael Howard. The meeting was organized by the British Parliamentary Israel Allies Caucus and included representatives from all major political parties in the UK.
Earlier Monday, Herzog met with Prince Charles, the heir to the British throne, for a discussion centered on climate change, regional threats, and Holocaust education.
The president thanked Charles for his “personal leadership” on the environment and stressed that he has made tackling climate change a core plank of his presidency, his office said.
In a “special gift” to the British royal, Herzog announced a nursing scholarship at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem dedicated to Princess Alice that the President’s Office said “pays tribute to [her] compassion, deep spirituality, and immense perseverance to help those in need.”
Also on Monday, Herzog met with Foreign Secretary Liz Truss and took part in a tribute dinner to former British chief rabbi Jonathan Sacks, who died last year.
On Tuesday, Herzog will sit down with Jewish leaders and then go to 10 Downing Street, the British premier’s office and residence, to meet with UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
On Sunday, Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich hosted Herzog at the Stamford Bridge stadium, as part of the Premier League soccer club’s campaign against antisemitism.
The Russian-Israeli businessman traveled to London as an Israeli citizen and spent around two hours on Sunday morning at the Imperial War Museum London to see the Holocaust Galleries he helped fund with donations.
Herzog highlighted concerns about discrimination in sports during an address to the audience in a suite at Chelsea’s stadium.
The president and his wife are set to return to Israel on Tuesday evening.