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August 24, 2022 12:10 pm

‘Enough’: Israel Urges Stop to Negotiations on Nuclear Deal Which Officials Say Will Funnel Billions to Iran

avatar by Sharon Wrobel

US President Joe Biden and Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid attend the first virtual meeting of the “I2U2” group with leaders of India and the United Arab Emirates, in Jerusalem, July 14, 2022. REUTERS/Evelyn Hockstein

Israel’s Prime Minister Yair Lapid on Wednesday urged the US and Western powers to say “enough” and stop negotiations on a nuclear agreement with Iran which he said would funnel $100 billion a year to Tehran to spread terror around the world and open a path for other countries to evade sanctions.

Lapid emphasized that Israel rejects the proposed nuclear agreement because it “cannot be accepted as it is written right now as it is a “bad one” [and] “does not meet the standards set by President [Joe] Biden himself: preventing Iran from becoming a nuclear state.”

Israel’s plea comes as European negotiators are awaiting a US response to what was presented as a “final offer” proposed to Iran following more than a year of indirect talks with Tehran to revive the 2015 nuclear deal known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

European negotiators declared it was “take it or leave it,” stated Lapid at a briefing. “The Iranians, as always, did not say no. They said ‘Yes, but…;’ And then they sent a draft of their own, with more changes and demands.”

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“The countries of the West draw a red line, the Iranians ignore it, and the red line moves. If the Iranians didn’t ‘take it’, why didn’t the world ‘leave it’?” Lapid questioned.

US President Joe Biden is seeking to restore the 2015 deal, which offered sanctions relief to Iran in exchange for limits on Iran’s nuclear program.

“The sweeping removal of sanctions on sectors like banking — against financial institutions designated today as supporting terrorism — means the Iranians will have no problem whatsoever laundering money,” Lapid declared. “Iran will assist other nations facing sanctions to evade them.”

“They will be able to create a direct route for financing terror,” he added.

The US is currently reviewing the EU proposal and indicated this week that a deal “is closer now than it was two weeks ago,” as Iran appears to drop “some of its nonstarter demands,” such as removing the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) from Washington’s list of foreign terrorist organizations.

“On the table right now is a bad deal. It would give Iran a hundred billion dollars a year,” said Lapid. “This money will not build schools or hospitals; [it] will fund the Revolutionary Guards, [it] will be used to strengthen Hezbollah, Hamas, and Islamic Jihad [and] spread terror around the globe.”

“It will fund the Basij who oppress the Iranian people,” he continued. “It will fund more attacks on American bases in the Middle East and of course, it will be used to strengthen Iran’s nuclear program.”

Lapid reiterated that in the case a nuclear deal is signed, it will not obligate Israel from acting to prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear state.

“We are not prepared to live with a nuclear threat above our heads from an extremist, violent Islamist regime,” Lapid said. “This will not happen because we will not let it happen.”

Israel’s national security adviser Eyal Hulata is in Washington this week for official talks, while Defense Minister Benny Gantz is scheduled to arrive in the US on Thursday and meet with US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan on Friday.

“We have an open dialogue with the American administration on all matters of disagreement,” Lapid said. “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.”

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