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News > Israel

Israel Steps up Diplomatic Efforts To Prevent Iran Nuclear Deal

  • Israeli Prime Minister and Head of the Yesh Atid party Yair Lapid speaks during a faction meeting in Tel Aviv on Aug. 25, 2022.

    Israeli Prime Minister and Head of the Yesh Atid party Yair Lapid speaks during a faction meeting in Tel Aviv on Aug. 25, 2022. | Photo: Gideon Markowicz/JINI via Xinhua

Published 13 September 2022

Officials said Tuesday that Israel is engaged in a diplomatic campaign to prevent world powers from returning to the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran.

Israel is working to persuade the international community not to revive the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), an agreement signed in 2015 that seeks to curb Iran's nuclear program in exchange for lifting sanctions on it, an official with the Israeli Foreign Ministry told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.

"Over the past weeks, Israeli officials have been holding intensive talks behind the scenes with U.S. senators and Congress members as well as European officials in order to convince them to accept the Israeli position," the official said, adding Israel also provided the United States and Europe with new intelligence information on Iranian nuclear sites' activity.

 Iran: Answer to US Nuclear Deal “Constructive, Clear, Legal”

According to the official, Israel believes the current setbacks in the negotiations might be resolved after the mid-term election in the United States in November.

Israel, a longtime vocal opponent of the Iranian nuclear deal, says the agreement will enable Iran to obtain atomic weapons without the burden of the sanctions and to funnel funds to its allies, including Hezbollah, a Lebanese armed group and a major enemy of Israel.

Iran, however, maintains that its nuclear program is peaceful.

On Monday, Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid met German Chancellor Olaf Scholz in Berlin to discuss the emerging deal. Restoring the agreement would be "a critical mistake," Lapid said in joint statements after the meeting.

The deal cannot achieve the goal of stopping Iran from acquiring nuclear arms, Lapid said, adding it was "time to move past the failed negotiations" with Iran.

Scholz expressed regret that Iran has not accepted European proposals to restore the deal.

In his weekly cabinet meeting on Sunday, Lapid applauded France, Britain and Germany, known as the E3, for their joint statement on Saturday that Iran's demand to close a probe by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the UN nuclear watchdog, into uranium particles found at three sites "raises serious doubts as to Iran's intentions and commitment to a successful outcome on the JCPOA."

On Monday, Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Nassar Kanaani said it is regretful that the E3, instead of responding positively to the "constructive" actions of Iran in the course of reaching an agreement and its cooperation with the IAEA, has been influenced by a country, which is not a member of any safeguards systems of the IAEA, alluding to Israel's allegations against Iran's nuclear program.

The recent statement of the E3 about Iran's response to an EU nuclear proposal was "wrong" and "untimely," Kanaani added.

Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz also took part in the Israeli diplomatic blitz to stop the revival of the 2015 deal, calling for joint action against Iran during a briefing for UN Security Council ambassadors on Monday.

"The international community must ensure military deterrence, in addition to diplomatic and economic efforts," a statement issued on his behalf on Tuesday quoted Gantz as saying.

According to Gantz, "Iran is not only advancing in its capabilities, but also in its rate of production."

Prior to Lapid's visit to Berlin, David Barnea, the director of the Israeli intelligence agency Mossad, traveled to Washington on Sept. 5. In a series of security-diplomatic meetings with senior U.S. officials, Barnea and U.S. officials focused on "tightening security and intelligence coordination (between the two sides) regarding the Iranian nuclear issue," according to a statement issued by the Israeli prime minister's office.

The statement quoted U.S. officials as saying that the United States "remains committed to the security of Israel" and will not allow Iran to obtain a nuclear weapon and will "continue to act in full cooperation" on regional issues concerning Israel's security.

In late August, some 5,000 senior reserve officers of the Israeli military sent a letter to U.S. President Joe Biden, warning that the emerging nuclear deal would be "catastrophic for the peace and security of the United States, Israel and the world."

At a press conference in Vienna on Monday, also the first day of an IAEA Board of Governors' quarterly meeting, IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi said the agency found in its inspections traces of uranium in places that were never declared by Iran, adding the information gap with regard to Iran's nuclear program is getting "bigger and bigger."

A spokesman of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) on Tuesday rejected Grossi's claim, calling on the IAEA to refrain from judging and commenting about Iran's nuclear program on the basis of the "politically motivated" documents Israel has provided.

Israel considers Iran its arch-foe and a big threat to its security. Lapid, like his predecessors Naftali Bennett and Benjamin Netanyahu, warned that Israel will not allow Iran to gain nuclear weapons and might attack it if diplomacy fails.

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