Israel PM urges West to reject Iran nuclear deal

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Jerusalem — Israeli Prime Minister urges the President Joe Biden And Western powers scrapped a looming nuclear deal with Iran, saying negotiators were letting Tehran manipulate the talks and that a deal would reward Israel’s enemies.

Yair Lapid called the emerging agreement a “bad deal” and suggested Biden had failed to honor the red lines he had previously promised to set.

“The countries in the West draw a red line, the Iranians ignore it and the red line moves,” Lapid told reporters at a news conference in Jerusalem. An emerging deal, Lapid said, “does not meet the standards set by President Biden: preventing Iran from becoming a nuclear state.”

Biden has been eager to revive the 2015 deal, which offered Iran sanctions relief in exchange for sanctions on Iran’s nuclear program. Original deal opened after the then President Donald Trump In 2018 it withdrew and reimposed sanctions with strong encouragement from Israel.

It is unclear whether the United States and Iran will be able to reach a new agreement. But it is expected that the Biden administration will pay attention to Iran’s latest offer in the coming days. With a deal drawing closer, Israel has stepped up its efforts to stop it.

Iran says its nuclear program is only for peaceful purposes. The Islamic Republic has increasingly claimed that the Americans are now delaying the deal, even though Tehran spent months in back-and-forth talks that had previously stalled in both Vienna and Qatar.

Lapid warned that Iran would divert billions of dollars of non-essential funds to hostile terrorist groups, such as Hezbollah in neighboring Lebanon, which threatens Israel.

“This money will fund the Revolutionary Guard,” Lapid later said, “it will fund more attacks on US targets in the Middle East. It will be used to strengthen Hezbollah, Hamas and Islamic Jihad.”

He stopped blaming one power for the apparent progress of the talks, but he opened his statement on Wednesday by isolating the European Union and suggesting those nations and other negotiating powers are meeting Iranian demands at the last minute.

“The Iranians are demanding again. The negotiators are ready to make concessions again,” Lapid said.

He was careful to reiterate that Biden, who visited Israel last month during a trip to the Middle East, remains a strong ally.

Israeli National Security Adviser Eyal Hulta is in Washington this week for talks with officials from the Biden administration, and Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz will travel to the US on Thursday for a meeting with the head of the US military’s central command, which operates in the Middle East. Oversees operations. , and National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan.

Lapid is serving as the acting prime minister of Israel until ElectionOn November 1, he will face former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other rivals. While there are deep differences between the two men, they hold almost the same position when it comes to Iran. In 2015, Netanyahu, now the opposition leader, made a speech to Congress in an unsuccessful attempt to derail President Barack Obama’s signature foreign policy achievement.

Israel has long said that it would not allow its regional arch nemesis Iran to obtain nuclear weapons, and it was not bound by agreements between world powers and Tehran. It has also called for diplomacy with a “credible” threat to take military action against Iran if needed.

“We are not prepared to live with a nuclear threat above our heads from an extremist, violent Islamic regime,” Lapid said on Wednesday. “It won’t happen. Because we won’t let it happen.”

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Associated Press writer Ilan Ben Zion contributed to this story.

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