Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid said Thursday that while he is not a fan of the Iran nuclear deal, known as the JCPOA, he does not see a better alternative.
“I am not a supporter of the deal. I think that the deal is not right. I’ve said it all along and I say it now, I just don’t see a Plan B,” Lapid said from Morrocco on Thursday, according to The Times of Israel.
Lapid blamed the failure to revive the deal before Iran’s new president Ebrahim Raisi came into office on Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Raisi is viewed as a hardliner, a political faction inside Iran that US and Israeli aggression has emboldened. But Lapid seems happy that Raisi was elected.
He said Raisi “makes it easier for us to explain to the world what we are talking about … Here it is entirely clear that this is a terror state with a terror government, which deals with blood and death as a way of life.”
Raisi still favors a JCPOA revival and has signaled he is willing to pursue more indirect talks with the US, which have been on hold since June 20th. While Lapid blames Iran for the delay, President Biden is at fault for refusing to lift all Trump-era sanctions, forcing Tehran to negotiate. Now, the two sides are far apart on certain issues.
Khamenei has said that the US wants to add a sentence to the JCPOA that would require Tehran to enter more negotiations with the US over other issues, like its ballistic missile program. For their part, the Iranians want written guarantees that the US wouldn’t withdraw from the deal again and some sort of mechanism to confirm sanctions relief, which Washington is not willing to provide.
Meanwhile, the US and the Israelis are coordinating on Iran. CIA Director William Burns met with Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and other officials in Israel on Wednesday to discuss Iran. According to a report from Axios, Bennett told Burns that the two countries should start working on a joint strategy for a scenario in which the JCPOA is not revived. The report said Burns said that he is skeptical that the deal can be salvaged.