Israel’s prime minister on Monday warned the five countries that have resumed negotiations over the defunct 2015 Iran nuclear deal not to be taken in by Tehran’s “nuclear blackmail.”
“Such a murderous regime should not be rewarded,” Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said in a recorded statement in which he pleaded with world leaders not to allow “hundreds of billions of dollars [to be] poured right into their rotten regime.”
“Iran deserves no rewards, no bargain deals and no sanctions relief in return for their brutality,” Bennett said, according to the Jerusalem Post. “I call upon our allies around the world: Do not give in to Iran’s nuclear blackmail.”
As talks resume in Vienna after a five-month hiatus, Iran has demanded that sanctions imposed by former President Donald Trump as part of a “maximum pressure campaign” be lifted.
The discussions that began Monday involve the five world powers that joined the US in signing the deal six years ago — France, Germany, Britain, Russia and China.
The US so far is sitting out the meetings, though an American delegation led by special envoy for Iran Robert Malley is participating indirectly.
In a speech last month, Malley suggested the US would be open to lifting “all of the sanctions that were imposed by the Trump administration that were inconsistent with the [nuclear] deal, and therefore we could get back to the business that we should have been on.”
“That’s where we are today, and I think that’s the choice that Iran faces,” Malley said at an event hosted by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. “Are they prepared to go back to that or do they want to choose a different path?”
President Biden has said he wants to re-enter the agreement after Trump pulled the US out of the deal in 2018.
Iran Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian released a statement before the talks began demanding an end to sanctions before the US can rejoin the discussion.
“The United States still fails to properly understand the fact that there is no way to return to the deal without verifiable and effective lifting of all sanctions imposed on the Iranian nation after the US departure,” he said in the statement.
“The return of the US to the nuclear deal would be meaningless without guarantees to prevent the recurrence of the bitter experience of the past,” added Amir-Abdollahian, pointing out that “this opportunity is not a window that can remain open forever.”
Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid said Iran’s only aim is to have the sanctions lifted so the hardline Islamist regime can boost its support for militia groups across the Middle East and continue work on its nuclear program.
“They need money for Hezbollah, for the Revolutionary Guards, for their global terrorist network and for their continued race towards a nuclear program,” Lapid said, noting that the Iranians are playing the long game as they advance their nuclear ambitions.
“This is what they have done in the past, and it is what they will do this time as well. The intelligence is clear. It leaves no doubt,” he continued.
As the talks began, Axios reported that Israel has shared intelligence with the US and European allies suggesting Iran is taking steps toward enriching uranium to 90 percent purity, the level needed to produce a nuclear weapon.
Tehran has maintained that its nuclear program is designed for peaceful purposes, but since Trump withdrew the US from the deal, Iran has violated the limits of the accord by enriching uranium and installing more centrifuges.
Complicating matters is Iran’s limiting the access United Nations nuclear inspectors have to monitor the program.
Source » nypost