Biden sends message to Lapid that new Iran deal ‘off the table,’ report says

A scrapped nuclear deal would be a major trophy for Lapid’s caretaker government ahead of November’s general election. 

By Debbie Reiss, World Israel News

A new nuclear deal between Iran and world powers is “off the table” for the foreseeable future, President Joe Biden and senior U.S. officials told Israel’s Prime Minister Yair Lapid, according to a report in the Hebrew-language Zman Yisrael news site published Wednesday.

The message was conveyed in a series of recent conversations with Lapid, Zman Yisrael said.

According to the report, Lapid became “more and more convinced in recent days that a deal was becoming unlikely” and therefore turned his focus onto other issues, including fighting terror in Judea and Samaria.

A scrapped nuclear deal would be a major trophy for Lapid’s caretaker government ahead of November’s general election.

Iran’s nuclear chief said over the weekend that “the enemies decide to go back on their commitments,” in an apparent signal to western powers that Tehran would not accept the current proposal of the nuclear deal.

The latest proposal by the EU was said to be scuttled over Iran’s demand that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) stop monitoring three nuclear sites which, inspectors discovered, contained uranium traces.

According to the report, Israel pressured the U.S. to committing that IAEA monitoring would be a condition of the new deal.

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The report also cited Biden administration officials as telling veteran Israeli reporter Barak Ravid that the deal would mean Iran would need to remove all uranium enriched to 20% and 60% as well as commit to transferring its centrifuges to a warehouse under IAEA supervision.

The IAEA on Wednesday also warned that it could not guarantee that Iran’s nuclear program was peaceful and that there had been “no progress” in receiving answers about the uranium traces.

The UN watchdog was “not in a position to provide assurance that Iran’s nuclear program is exclusively peaceful,” the IAEA said in a report seen by the AFP news agency.

Iran’s stockpile is currently over 19 times the limit set out in the accord, the IAEA reported, which according to the Reuters news agency is enough to build a bomb.

Mossad director David Barnea, who is in the U.S. to discuss Iran, warned last month that the latest iteration of the nuclear deal was a “strategic disaster.”

“The agreement is a bad deal that gives Iran a license to manufacture a bomb,” Barnea was quoted by Hebrew media as saying.