by: Kate Norman
Friday, 19 August 2022 | Prime Minister Yair Lapid and other Israeli officials are telling Washington and European leaders to walk away from the nuclear negotiations with Iran, a senior Israeli official told Israeli reporters yesterday.
“The Europeans sent Iran a final offer, which doesn’t even meet the demands that the Americans committed to, and established that this offer was ‘take it or leave it,’” the senior source said yesterday.
Cited by the Jerusalem Post, the Times of Israel and other media outlets, the unnamed source is described as a very senior Israeli diplomatic official involved in decision-making.
“Iran turned down the offer, and the time has come to get up and walk away,” the source added, as quoted by the Times of Israel. “Anything else sends a strong message of weakness.”
The next step, the source told Israeli reporters, is for Western powers to discuss how to prevent Iran from achieving a nuclear weapon.
Lapid discussed the talks with Iran in a phone call with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz yesterday, the Prime Minister’s Office said.
Lapid “reiterated Israel’s opposition to a return to the nuclear agreement, and the need for Europe to send a clear and unequivocal message that there will be no more concessions to Iran,” the statement said.
“Prime Minister Lapid added that Europe must oppose Iran buying time in negotiations,” his office added.
The senior Israeli source told reporters that yesterday Lapid also spoke to US ambassador to Israel Tom Nides as well as Ted Deutch, chairman of the US Congressional Subcommittee on the Middle East, reiterating the same message: walk away from the nuclear talks with Iran.
Iran and world powers are “closer than we’ve been before” to reviving the 2015 nuclear deal, said Mohammad Marandi, a spokesman for Iran’s negotiating team, on Monday.
Former US President Donald Trump exited the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the nuclear deal with Iran, in 2018 and reimposed heavy sanctions against the regime in a “maximum pressure” campaign.
The Biden administration has been scrambling to revive the deal, though multiple rounds of EU-mediated talks in Vienna yielded little progress—until EU Foreign Policy Chief Josep Borrell issued what he called the “final” draft of a nuclear agreement on August 8.
Iran submitted its response to the “final” proposal on Monday, and the EU and the US State Department are reportedly studying the answer and consulting on their own response.
Neither the EU nor Iran said what Iran’s proposal entailed, but the Jerusalem Post, citing an unnamed diplomatic source, said Tehran replied to the EU’s “take it or leave it” proposal with a “yes, but” response.
Israel vehemently opposes a return to the nuclear accord, arguing that it does too little too late to thwart Tehran’s nuclear ambition. Both the US and Israel have issued thinly veiled warnings in the past year of military action if the nuclear talks continue to stall and Iran continues its nuclear development.
Iran’s foreign minister, however, issued his own warning to reporters on Monday, asserting that Tehran is “looking for a good, stable and strong agreement, but if the other party talks about plan B, we also have a plan B.”
Nonetheless, Jerusalem believes a revival of the JCPOA is close and has started preparing for such an outcome, an Israeli official told the Times of Israel on Wednesday.
“Israel sees the current agreement as a bad agreement and emphasizes to its partners the danger of signing such an agreement,” the official said. “The Iranians operate in a well-known tactic of shuffling and stalling for more concessions.”
Posted on August 19, 2022
Source: (Bridges for Peace, August 19, 2022)
Photo Credit: Haim Zach/Government Press Office (Israel)/wikipedia.org
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