Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid said Sunday that Israel was applying pressure on the US over the Iran nuclear deal effectively while ensuring that relations with Washington are not damaged.
The Israeli leader said the pressure was “working” and that the US was taking Israel’s concerns into account. “The reservations that we have presented to the American administration have been taken into account. We have also spoken with our other partners. Demands have been made of the Iranians,” he said.
Israel is strongly against a revival of the nuclear deal, known as the JCPOA, and has been pushing the US to take a harder stance and not agree to any of Iran’s conditions to revive the deal. The pressure does appear to be working as the US slammed Iran’s latest response in the ongoing EU-mediated negotiations as “not encouraging” and “moving backwards.”
Lapid on Sunday took a shot at former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who was the Israeli leader in 2015 while the Obama administration was negotiating the JCPOA. Netanyahu is a contender in the upcoming Israeli election, which will be held on November 1, and the JCPOA has become a major issue for the election season.
“For those who tell us that we are not shouting enough, or are not blunt enough, I will remind you what really happened in the past: In 2015, when Israel insisted on an unnecessary confrontation with the [Obama] administration, it was a complete failure,” he said.
Israel’s pressure on the US will continue as David Barnea, the head of the Mossad spy agency, is traveling to Washington on Monday. Barnea is expected to meet with CIA Director William Burns and other senior US officials.
Israel has a history of launching covert attacks inside Iran and, with tensions high in the region, Tehran on Saturday boosted the readiness of its air defense systems and equipped many of its cities with civil defense systems.