Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid urged the United States and European Union on Wednesday to scrap their pending nuclear agreement with Iran, calling it a bad deal for the world and a violation of standards set by President Joe Biden.
“Israel is not against any agreement. We are against this agreement, because it is a bad one. Because it cannot be accepted as it is written right now,” Lapid told foreign correspondents in Jerusalem. “In our eyes, it does not meet the standards set by President Biden himself: preventing Iran from becoming a nuclear state.”
Lapid said the agreement, which would give Iran $100 billion a year, would spread terror around the world.
“This money won’t be used to build schools nor hospitals. These billions of dollars will be used to destabilize the Middle East and spread terror around the world,” Lapid said. “It will be used to strengthen the regime, which oppresses the Iranian people, to fund more attacks on American military positions in the Middle East and to strengthen Hezbollah, Hamas and the Islamic Jihad,” he said.
U.S. and Iranian negotiators are working on a return to the 2015 nuclear agreement, formerly known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. Under the deal, Iran would gain billions of dollars in thawed assets and would have hundreds of sanctions lifted in exchange for rolling back its nuclear capabilities.
On Monday, state-run Iranian media cited progress in the talks, but blamed the Biden administration for delaying a deal after Lapid called on Biden to reject the agreement with Iran.
“We have an open dialogue with the American administration on all matters of disagreement,” Lapid said Wednesday. “I appreciate their willingness to listen and work together: The United States is and will remain our closest ally, and President Biden is one of the best friends Israel has ever known.”
Lapid accused Europe and the United States of allowing the Iranians to make counter demands to the final text of the deal, which EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell confirmed Tuesday, saying Tehran had asked for “adjustments.”
“The countries of the West draw a red line, the Iranians ignore it, and the red line moves,” Lapid said.
Israel opposed the original Iran nuclear deal in 2015, which was spearheaded by former U.S. President Barack Obama. Former U.S. President Donald Trump withdrew from the agreement and imposed tough new sanctions against Tehran. While Biden has indicated he would return to the deal, the United States has been slow to respond.
“We have made it clear to everyone: If a deal is signed, it does not obligate Israel. We will act to prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear state,” Lapid said.
“We are not prepared to live with a nuclear threat above our heads from an extremist, violent Islamist regime,” the prime minister said. “This will not happen. Because we will not let it happen.”
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