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Israel Calls to Support IAEA in its Investigations with Iran

Israel Calls to Support IAEA in its Investigations with Iran

Tuesday, 30 August, 2022 - 07:00
Prime Minister Yair Lapid with former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (Prime Minister's Office)

Israel objected to Tehran's request to end open probes by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), calling on major countries to support the "independence" of the watchdog investigating Iran's nuclear program.

Political sources in Tel Aviv said there were several faults and defects in the draft to revive the nuclear agreement presented by the EU to Iran, including that this agreement will not enter into force until after four stages to establish confidence between Iran and the United States.

They believe that during the four stages spanning over 165 days, Tehran will have the freedom to act as if there is almost no agreement and will start receiving its frozen assets after their gradual release.

Sources close to Prime Minister Yair Lapid said he was sending the head of Mossad, David Barnea, to put forward friendly proposals for Israeli-US cooperation.

Lapid stressed that the visit did not aim to provoke the US administration, as former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu used to do. He confirmed that Barnea's visit came at the request of the Senate Intelligence Committee and not on his initiative.

Meanwhile, Israeli President Isaac Herzog met with Swiss counterpart Ignazio Cassis during his official visit to Basel on Monday.

Herzog called upon the Swiss and all other governments to oppose the Iranian nuclear program in no "uncertain terms."

"Iran has sworn itself to Israel's destruction and is working tirelessly to destabilize our region and the entire world," he said, adding that Iran's behavior cannot be met with silence and its activities cannot go unpunished.

"Such a state must not be allowed to possess nuclear capabilities. Iran must be denied such capabilities by all means necessary,” he added.

Herzog referred to the Iranian president, Ebrahim Raisi, who said there would be no way back to a nuclear deal if the IAEA probe continues.

"The Iranian president's statement today is perfectly clear. It says, 'We don't respect the independence of the International Atomic Energy Agency to investigate open cases,' which are major cases involving enriched uranium located by IAEA inspectors”, Herzog said.

The Israeli president urged Switzerland to do everything to ensure the IAEA's independence and deny Iran nuclear weapons.

Haaretz quoted a reliable source close to the Israeli government on Monday, reviewing the most critical points in the European draft agreement.

According to the understandings in the European Union's draft proposal presented last month, the treaty will be completed only after four rounds designed to establish trust between the parties.

The first stage, dubbed "day zero," is the day the agreement is signed.

Before signing, the sides should finalize a deal to release prisoners from Iran in exchange for money trapped in various international bank accounts and an initial easing of the sanctions.

At the same time, Iran will be required to freeze all its violations of the agreement until now but will be able to retain the inventory of uranium it has accumulated thus far.

During the second stage, the deal will be placed on the congressional table for a maximum of five days from the date of signing. For 30 days from that moment, members of Congress will be able to peruse and study the treaty, and throughout this period, there will be no possibility of easing the legislation's sanctions.

The third phase will enter into force 60 days after Congress approves, during which a representative of the US State Department will inform the UN Security Council and the IAEA about the decision to return to the agreement.

After an additional 60 days, the fourth and final stage would see the US formally return to the deal.

The US and Iran will issue a joint declaration of their commitment to the process, and Washington will lift additional sanctions on other companies.

Israel believes this formula contains many loopholes that must be addressed before signing it but refuses to talk about them publicly to maintain the level of friendly dialogue between the partners.

According to a government source, Lapid is unsatisfied with dialogue with the United States but has sent his envoys to France, Britain, and Germany.

However, the source revealed that Israel would request to slow the lifting of sanctions from the first to the fourth stage.

On Monday, Lapid met with Netanyahu to deliver a security briefing on the nuclear deal. Lapid's military secretary, Avi Gil, attended the meeting.

The meeting focused on the Iran deal and "the diplomatic and defense activities that Israel is leading to influence the issue," along with other unspecified national security issues.

Netanyahu spoke to the press after the briefing, saying he was "more worried after the meeting than before."

Meanwhile, former Mossad head Yossi Cohen said at a World Zionist Organization event in Switzerland that Mossad carried out many operations against Iran's nuclear program, including some deep inside Iranian territory.

"Without going into too many details, I can tell you the Mossad had many successes in the fight against Iran's nuclear program," Cohen said.

Referring to the Mossad operation in January 2018, he noted the operation to snatch the Iranian nuclear files, which he said showed "clear evidence" that Tehran lied about the military dimensions of its atomic program.

Cohen said Israel "will continue to do whatever needs to be done" to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear arms if a deal is signed.

"We can never allow a regime that calls for our destruction to get its finger on the nuclear trigger," he said.

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