UK and Israel join forces to stop Iran developing nuclear weapons

Two nations will work together to ensure Iran never becomes an atomic power

The reactor building of the Bushehr nuclear power plant, outside the southern city of Bushehr, in Iran. AP
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The foreign ministers from the UK and Israel will sign a 10-year agreement on Monday to deepen co-operation between the two nations and prevent the Iranian regime from ever becoming a nuclear power.

Britain’s Liz Truss and Israel’s Yair Lapid have pledged to work "night and day" to achieve the ambition.

Under the deal, the UK and Israel will work closely on issues such as cyber security, technology development, defence, trade and science.

"The clock is ticking, which heightens the need for close co-operation with our partners and friends to thwart Tehran's ambitions," Ms Truss and Mr Lapid wrote in The Daily Telegraph.

They said Israel and the UK "are the closest of friends, and today we are deepening that partnership to become even closer".

“This pact will spur technological breakthroughs which have the potential to change the world, create high-quality jobs in both our countries and provide tools to our security forces.”

Iran is due to resume talks in Vienna on Monday in the latest bid to revive the 2015 nuclear deal after a six-month hiatus.

The original signatories to the deal were China, France, Germany, Iran, Russia, the UK, the US and the EU.

Former US president Barack Obama regarded the original agreement as one of his best foreign policy achievements but his successor Donald Trump called it the “worst deal ever”, withdrew the US and reimposing sanctions on Iran.

Iran has since moved away from many of its commitments and breached the limits of its stockpile of enriched uranium.

US President Joe Biden says he wants the US to return to the deal but Washington has accused Iran of dragging its feet by making "radical" demands.

The Vienna talks have been on hold since June when Iranian presidential elections brought hardliner Ebrahim Raisi to power.

Former Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu was among the most vocal critics of the 2015 agreement.

His successor, Naftali Bennett, has also voiced concern about a revival of the accord.

"Israel is very concerned about the willingness to lift sanctions and allow the flow of billions to Iran, in exchange for insufficient restrictions on the nuclear programme," Mr Bennett said before a Cabinet meeting on Sunday.

"This is a message that we are conveying in every way, to the Americans and to the other countries that are negotiating with Iran.

"The foreign minister will deliver the same message at his meetings in London and Paris this week."

After visiting British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Ms Truss in London on Monday, Mr Lapid is due to meet French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris on Tuesday.

Updated: November 29, 2021, 10:45 AM