Israeli leaders on Monday urged world powers to keep pressure and sanctions on Iran as indirect negotiations between Tehran and Washington to revive the nuclear deal resumed in Vienna.
In a video statement, Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett called on countries not to “give in to Iran’s nuclear blackmail.” He accused Iran of entering negotiations with no intention of rolling back its nuclear program and said Tehran only seeks “to end sanctions in exchange for almost nothing.”
In London, Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid said Iran only wanted to enter negotiations to access money frozen by sanctions and claimed Tehran was moving to develop nuclear weapons. “A nuclear Iran will thrust the entire Middle East into a nuclear arms race; we will find ourselves in a new Cold War,” he said.
The claim that Iran developing a bomb would start a nuclear arms race ignores the fact that Israel already has nuclear weapons. Iran has also repeatedly pledged it will not develop nuclear weapons and is a signatory to the Non-Proliferation Treaty, which Israel refuses to sign due to its secret arsenal.
Lapid said the remedy to the current situation with Iran is more sanctions. “The world must prevent this and it can prevent this: tighter sanctions, tighter supervision, conduct any talks from a position of strength,” he said.
Israel has taken extreme measures to sabotage diplomacy between the US and Iran in the past. Back in April, when the initial rounds of talks between the Biden administration and Iran began, Israel carried out an attack against Iran’s Natanz nuclear facility. The US refused to condemn the dangerous attack, and Iran responded by increasing some uranium enrichment to 60 percent.