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November 29, 2021 10:20 am

As Vienna Talks Resume, UK Tells Israel: ‘We Will Work Flat Out’ to Prevent Nuclear-Armed Iran

avatar by Sharon Wrobel

Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid with UK Foreign Secretary Liz Truss. Photo: Stuart Mitchell

Israel and the United Kingdom pledged to work together to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons, as talks in Vienna over attempts to salvage the 2015 deal between world powers and the Islamic Republic resumed on Monday.

“I know that we are committed to the same goal – Iran will never be allowed to get a nuclear weapon,” Israeli Foreign Minister Lapid said at a joint press conference with British counterpart Liz Truss. “I know that we can count on you, and on the Prime Minister, to stand with us.”

Foreign Secretary Truss called Israel a close friend and ally, and emphasized that the UK stood behind Israel in condemning terrorist attacks against its citizens.

“We will also work flat out to prevent the Iranian regime from gaining nuclear weapons,” Truss announced.

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“We want Iran to agree to the original [Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action],” she said, referring to the 2015 nuclear accord. “And we want those talks to work. But if they don’t work, all options are on the table.”

In Vienna, the seventh round of talks to bring back the JCPOA, participants — Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia — started to convene in preparation of the official meeting later on Monday.

Lapid conveyed that the Iranians are coming to the negotiation table only for “one reason — to get sanctions lifted” and “to play for time, earn billions from the removal of sanctions, continue to deceive the world, and covertly advance their nuclear program.”

In a video statement, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett urged Israel’s allies around the world to not “give in to Iran’s nuclear blackmail.”

“Today Iran will be arriving at negotiations in Vienna with a clear goal to end sanctions in exchange for almost nothing. Iran won’t just keep its nuclear program. From today they will be getting paid for it,” Bennett cautioned. “Iran deserves no rewards, no bargain deals and no sanctions relief in return for their brutality.”

Lapid warned that a “nuclear Iran will thrust the entire Middle East into a nuclear arms race.”

“There is no nice way to fight terrorism, but there is a right way: to cooperate,” Lapid said. “To work together. To make sure we foil not only the flight of terrorists’ missiles, but also the flow of terrorists’ money.”

During his diplomatic visit to the UK, Lapid and Truss also signed a memorandum of understanding on strategic cooperation, which is expected to lead to a free trade agreement between the two countries.

The agreement will “open new, shared horizons in A.I., and in quantum- and cyber- technology,” the Israeli Foreign Minister stated. “This agreement will translate into new British and Israeli businesses, more high-quality jobs, and more security cooperation between our air, naval, and intelligence forces.”

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