Biden snubs Lapid, refuses to speak about Iran deal because he’s ‘on vacation’

Defense Minister Benny Gantz’s meeting with U.S. counterpart Lloyd Austin also nixed, according to a Channel 13 report. 

By Debbie Reiss, World Israel News

Prime Minister Yair Lapid’s attempts to hold a telephone conversation with President Joe Biden ahead of an emerging nuclear deal with Iran have been rebuffed, with the excuse that the American president is on vacation, Israeli media reported on Wednesday.

The National Security Council has been scrambling in recent days to arrange a call between the two leaders as part of Israel’s last ditch effort to stop the Iran deal from being signed, Israel’s Channel 13 News reported.

U.S. officials, however, denied the request, telling Lapid that Biden “is on vacation,” according to the report.

The report went on to say that the two are likely to speak in the coming days.

Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz is set to fly to Washington tomorrow to raise Israel’s concerns surrounding the deal, which Israeli officials have said is “even worse” than the 2015 Obama-led pact. Notably, Gantz will not meet with his American counterpart, Lloyd Austin, after being told that the American defense secretary is “out of Washington,” the report said. Instead, Gantz will meet with National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan.

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Tehran on Wednesday confirmed that it had received the U.S.’s response to its demands on a final European Union draft of the revived deal.

Channel 13 cited an unnamed Israeli official as saying that “the gaps between [Israel] and the Americans are very large.”

Speaking to reporters on Wednesday, Lapid reiterated Israel’s position that a nuclear deal would not “obligate Israel.”

The Israeli premier also issued a rare rebuke of Biden, saying that the latest draft of the deal crossed even his own “red lines.”

“In our eyes, it does not meet the standards set by President Biden himself: preventing Iran from becoming a nuclear state,” Lapid said.

“We have made it clear to everyone: if a deal is signed, it does not obligate Israel. We will act to prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear state,” Lapid said.

Israel has been vocal about its concrete plans to attack Iran if needed for over a year.

The IAF has run a series of upgrades to its F-35 fleet, including integrating a one-ton bomb in its belly. According to the London-based Saudi outlet Elaph, Israeli F-35 stealth fighter jets penetrated Iranian airspace on several occasions in the last two months, evading both Iranian and Russian radars.

The report also said Israel and the U.S carried out large-scale “secret drills” over the Red Sea, simulating a simultaneous air and sea strike on Iran. The simulation included seizing Iranian warships in the Gulf and mid-air refuels.

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Biden faced backlash this week for ignoring domestic problems, including the border crisis, as he kicked off his third week of summer break.