During a joint press conference with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the US shouldn’t return to the Iran nuclear deal, known as the JCPOA.
“I can tell you that I hope that the United States will not go back to the old JCPOA because we believe that that deal paves the way for Iran to have an arsenal of nuclear weapons with international legitimacy,” Netanyahu said in Jerusalem on Tuesday.
Israeli officials claim the JCPOA is a path to a nuclear-armed Iran because it has an expiration date. But after the JCPOA, the Iranians would still be bound by the Non-Proliferation Treaty, which Israel refuses to sign due to its secret nuclear weapons program.
Netanyahu also hinted at possible action against Iran under the guise of self-defense. “We also reiterated that whatever happens, Israel will always reserve the right to defend itself against a regime committed to our destruction, committed to getting the weapons of mass destruction for that end,” he said.
Blinken did not rebuke Netanyahu’s comments and only said the US is “consulting closely with Israel” on the indirect negotiations with Iran that are ongoing in Vienna to revive the JCPOA. While US officials have downplayed the progress of the Vienna talks, Iranian officials have had positive things to say and believe a deal will be reached soon.