| 4 December 2023, Monday |

Lapid: Nuclear deal to give Tehran $100Bln to destabilize region

A new nuclear deal between world powers and Iran would allow other nations to avoid sanctions and give Tehran $100 billion a year to destabilize the Middle East, Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid said on Wednesday.


“On the table right now is a bad deal. It would give Iran a hundred billion dollars a year … that will be used to undermine stability in the Middle East and spread terror around the globe,” Lapid said. Iran denies fomenting terrorism.


He said this money will fund the Revolutionary Guards and the Basij who oppress the Iranian people. It will fund more attacks on American bases in the Middle East and will be used to strengthen the Lebanese Hezbollah, Hamas Movement, and the Islamic Jihad.


Lapid stressed that Israel is not against any agreement.


“We are against this agreement because it is a bad one. Because it cannot be accepted as it is written right now,” he said in a briefing with foreign correspondents in Israel.


The Premier affirmed that Israel has an open dialogue with the American administration on all matters of disagreement.


“I appreciate their willingness to listen and work together. The United States is and will remain our closest ally, and President Joe Biden is one of the best friends Israel has ever known,” he affirmed.


An emerging deal, Lapid said, “does not meet the standards set by Biden himself, preventing Iran from becoming a nuclear state.”


He was careful not to openly criticize the United States and slammed Iran and the West directly.


He said that the European Union presented last week its “final” proposal to revive the deal and asked for Iran’s response.


Tehran, as usual, did not reject this proposal, Lapid stressed, but it sent a draft including some amendments and other demands.


He said he had spoken in recent days with the leadership of Britain, France and Germany, to reaffirm his country’s opposition.


“I told them these negotiations have reached the point where they must stop and say ‘enough’,” he said.


A senior Israeli official at the prime minister’s briefing said the draft text does not stipulate the destruction of centrifuges used to enrich uranium, allowing Iran to “restart” them at any time.


Israel is dispatching Defense Minister Benny Gantz on Thursday to Washington, where his team said Iran would be on the agenda of bilateral talks.


According to senior officials in Tel Aviv, Gantz will try to persuade the US administration not to sign the new deal.


However, they pointed out that he realizes his weak influence and must consider long-term actions.


Gantz will discuss with US officials the post-deal period, the possibility of adding some articles to the agreement, annexing it or any other way to ensure it does not retract from the agreement or violate it, the sources explained.


The Minister will join Israel’s national security adviser, Eyal Hulata, who arrived in Washington earlier this week for talks with Biden administration officials.


They will both hold talks with US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan.

  • Asharq Al-Awsat