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Israel to Work with World Powers to Shape Any Iran Nuclear Deal

Israel to Work with World Powers to Shape Any Iran Nuclear Deal

Tuesday, 28 June, 2022 - 06:00
Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz (AP)

Tel Aviv- Israel will work with world powers to have an impact on any deal that may emerge from their nuclear negotiations with Iran, Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz said on Monday.

“With the expected or possible resumption of the nuclear talks, we will continue to work together with the United States and other countries in order to make our position clear and influence the crafting of the deal - if there is such,” Gantz told reporters.

“It would be proper to make clear that Israel does not oppose a nuclear deal in itself. It opposes a bad deal,” he said.

Iran and the United States are expected to return to indirect talks in the coming days amid a push by the European Union to break a months-long impasse in the negotiations to reinstate a 2015 nuclear pact.

Israel is not a party to the negotiations. But its concerns about the outcome - and its long-standing threats to take unilateral military action against Iran - carry weight in Western capitals.

Gantz said on Sunday that the policy on the Iranian nuclear talks was set by the government, not the security forces, after a newspaper reported that key Israeli generals favor a deal between Tehran and world powers.

The chiefs of military intelligence and strategic planning believe a revival of a 2015 deal that restricted Iran's nuclear program would gain time for Israel to prepare an attack aimed at denying its arch-foe the means to make a nuclear weapon, Yedioth Ahronoth daily said on Friday.

While the Israeli security forces have a say on Iran policy, “it is the government echelon that makes the decisions,” Gantz tweeted.

“We will continue holding the open and deep dialogue behind closed doors only. Any other manner harms the State of Israel’s security,” Reuters quoted him as saying.

Gantz’s rebuke was apparently also aimed at the Mossad spy service, which Yedioth said opposed any new Iran nuclear deal.

The development comes amid political instability in Israel, after Prime Minister Naftali Bennett called a snap election.

Gantz did not comment on the EU-Iran announcement. Nor did Bennett, despite having TV cameras on hand for what was likely his final cabinet meeting on Sunday.

He is due to step down this week, with Foreign Minister Yair Lapid assuming top office.

Israel welcomed then US President Donald Trump's decision to quit the 2015 deal, deeming it insufficient. After Trump was succeeded by Joe Biden, Israeli leaders said they would not be bound by any new deal Washington might reach with Tehran.

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