Jerusalem worries about Washington’s willingness to lift sanctions for “insufficient” nuclear restrictions.
By: Aryeh Savir
The nuclear talks between Iran and the major powers are slated to be renewed in the coming days in Vienna, and Israel “is very disturbed by the willingness to lift the sanctions and allow billions to flow into Iran in exchange for insufficient restrictions in the nuclear sphere,” stated Prime Minister Naftali Bennett.
The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) Joint Commission will meet in Vienna, Austria, on Monday with members of the G4 +1 group and the European Union to discuss the lifting of sanctions on Iran.
The Biden administration is seeking to reengage Tehran in talks on a new nuclear agreement, while Europe is seeking to salvage the one signed in 2015, which the US under Donald Trump left. However, Washington appears to be skeptical of the prospects of such a development.
Israel fears the emerging agreement will be even laxer than the 2015 agreement.
Bennett said during Sunday’s Cabinet meeting that this message of distress is the “message that we are passing along however we can, to the Americans and to the other countries that are negotiating with Iran.”
Foreign Minister Yair Lapid will “deliver this message at his meetings in London and Paris this week.”
Lapid departed on Sunday for an official visit to London where he will meet with the UK’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson, and then with President of France Emmanuel Macron in Paris
He is also slated to meet with British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss and French Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs Jean-Yves Le Drian.
“The Minister’s visit will focus on the resumption of nuclear talks in Vienna as well as the deepening of bilateral relations between Israel and Britain and France,” the Foreign Ministry stated.
Israel has warned that the Iranian nuclear program has reached a critical stage and is weeks away from accumulating the material needed for a nuclear bomb, requiring action.
MK Tzachi Hanegbi, who has previously served as chairman of the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee and as a member of the Security Cabinet, said in October that if a nuclear agreement is not reached between Iran and the powers by the end of 2021, Israel must attack Iran.
“Iran is an existential threat. We are approaching the crossroads of a decision on the Iranian issue,” he said. That leaves Israel with about a month.