Netanyahu’s statement comes after he convened a strategic meeting which included Defense Minister Benny Gantz, Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi, IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Aviv Kochavi, and Mossad chief Yossi Cohen to discuss the Biden administration’s willingness to negotiate with Iran on the nuclear deal.
Israel is not going to rely on the Iran nuclear agreement and will “do everything” to prevent Iran’s leadership getting hold of nuclear weapons, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Tuesday.
“Israel isn’t pinning its hopes on an agreement with an extremist regime like [Iran’s]. We already saw what these agreements are worth… with North Korea,” Netanyahu said at a memorial service for the 1920 Battle of Tel Hai.
“With or without an agreement, we will do everything so [Iran isn’t] armed with nuclear weapons,” the Prime Minister said.
In 2015, Iran signed the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action with the permanent members of the UN Security Council, Germany, and the European Union, which required Iran to scale back its nuclear programme in exchange for sanctions relief. The Trump administration unilaterally withdrew the United States from the deal in 2018 and reinstated sanctions on Tehran. This prompted the Islamic republic to announce that it will gradually abandon its obligations under the deal, first of all, limits on uranium enrichment.
In December, Iran passed a law to increase its uranium enrichment and stop UN inspections of its nuclear sites in response to the assassination of prominent Iranian nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, who was one of the key figures behind Iran’s nuclear programme.
Tehran blamed the assassination on Israel. In January, Iran’s atomic energy organization announced that the country had succeeded in enriching uranium to 20 percent at the Fordow Fuel Enrichment Plant, while last week, Tehran decided to limit the inspection of its nuclear sites by the IAEA.
In mid-January, Israeli media reported that the Biden administration was negotiating Washington’s return to the deal, possibly to introduce certain changes to it. Chief of the General Staff of Israeli Defense Forces Lt. Gen. Aviv Kohavi said back then that “anything that looks like the current agreement or an improved version of it” would be a bad deal from an operational and strategic point of view and, therefore, unacceptable to Israel.