Israel urges West to reject 'bad' Iran nuclear deal

An agreement between Tehran and western states would reward Israel’s enemies, Prime Minister Lapid says

Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid speaks about Iran at the prime minister's office in Jerusalem, on Wednesday. AP
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Israel is intensifying efforts to halt negotiations aimed at reviving a nuclear deal between Iran and the West, as the two sides inch closer to an agreement.

Officials have called western leaders, held press briefings and carried out diplomatic visits as part of the push to stop the resumption of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

The US on Tuesday said it would soon give its reaction on Iran’s response to a “final text” on the milestone 2015 deal, prompting Israel to give a warning of consequences.

Israel was planning to send Defence Minister Benny Gantz to Washington on Thursday, where Iran would be on the agenda of bilateral talks, his team said.

Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid said Tehran was manipulating the talks and an agreement would “reward” his country’s enemies.

"On the table right now is a bad deal," Mr Lapid said during a press conference late on Wednesday.

"It would give Iran $100 billion a year."

The money would be used by Iran-backed militant groups Hamas, Hezbollah and terrorists to "undermine stability in the Middle East and spread terror around the globe," he said.

Mr Lapid said he spoke, in recent days, with top leaders from the UK, France and Germany to give them his country’s opinion.

"I told them these negotiations have reached the point where they must stop and say 'enough'," he said.

“The countries of the West draw a red line, the Iranians ignore it, and the red line moves.”

An emerging deal “does not meet the standards set by US President Joe Biden himself: preventing Iran from becoming a nuclear state,” the prime minister said.

Mr Lapid's predecessor Naftali Bennett, a hardliner on Iran, this week pressed Mr Biden to refrain from signing a deal "even at the last minute".

On the other side, Iran has relaxed its insistence on a key sticking point — that Washington remove its powerful Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps from a terrorism blacklist.

While Iran insists its nuclear programme is for peaceful purposes only, Mr Lapid rejected the claims.

It remains uncertain whether Iran and the US will reach a new agreement. However, Washington is expected to announce it's take on Tehran's latest offer in the coming days.

Former US president Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew from the accord in 2018 that is designed to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon.

Back then, Israel celebrated the move.

Updated: August 25, 2022, 6:41 AM