Lapid: Israel conducting ‘successful’ campaign to thwart Iran nuke deal, but still ‘long way’ to go

The Israeli prime minister thanks the UK, France and Germany for their “strong position” regarding Iran’s nuclear program.

By JNS

Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid on Sunday described as “successful” his government’s diplomatic offensive against a revival of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal. However, he conceded that there was a “long way” to go to ensure that Tehran does not benefit to the tune of hundreds of billions of dollars should an accord be reached.

“Together with Alternate Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Defense Minister Benny Gantz, Israel is conducting a successful diplomatic campaign to stop the nuclear agreement and prevent the lifting of sanctions on Iran. It is not over yet. There is still a long way to go, but there are encouraging signs,” Lapid said at the start of the weekly Cabinet meeting in Jerusalem.

The Israeli premier was set to depart for Germany on Sunday afternoon to meet with Chancellor Olaf Scholz, with the goal of “coordinating positions on the nuclear issue, and finalizing the details of the strategic, economic and security cooperation document we are going to sign,” Lapid said.

He also praised Britain, France and Germany for their joint statement, released on Saturday, denouncing Tehran for failing to negotiate in good faith a new deal to curb its nuclear program, which the countries said had continued to expand “far beyond any plausible civilian justification.”

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“Following the Americans, yesterday the E3 countries announced that a nuclear agreement with Iran will not be signed in the near future, that the [International Atomic Energy Agency]’s open files regarding Iran are not about to be closed,” Lapid said on Sunday.

“I thank France, the United Kingdom, and Germany for their strong position on this matter. In recent months, we held a discreet and intensive dialogue with them, and presented them with up-to-date intelligence information about Iranian activity at nuclear sites,” he added.

Lapid also emphasized that Jerusalem was working working to prevent the Islamic Republic from creating terrorist bases throughout the Middle East and especially in Syria.

“Israel will not allow Syria to be used as an axis for the transfer of weapons to terrorist organizations, and will not accept the establishment of Iranian bases or militia bases on our northern border,” he said.

The Syrian opposition website Ayn Al-Furat (“Eye of Euphrates”) asserted in an “exclusive” article on Thursday that Iran is constructing “a large base to hold advanced weapons” close to Ayn Ali, in the Deir Al-Zour region of eastern Syria.

Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz on Sunday headed to the United States for a series of meetings with United Nations officials that were expected to focus on Iran’s nuclear program, according to a statement from his office.