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While world powers convene in Vienna this week in an effort to reinstate the ‘Iran Nuclear Deal’, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reiterated Israel’s position to protect itself against Iranian aggression on Wednesday, stating the deal will not persuade Israel away from taking military action against Iran and its nuclear weapons program.
Speaking live during the Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Remembrance Day in Jerusalem, Netanyahu drew from Jewish historical context as he reaffirmed the Israeli government’s opposition to the threat of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), or the ‘Iran Nuclear Deal’, to The Jewish State.
“Unlike in the past, today there is no one in the world that will deprive us of the right and the might to defend ourselves from an existential threat,” Netanyahu stated.
“A deal with Iran that threatens us with annihilation will not obligate us,” the Prime Minister said, reported i24 News. “The nuclear deal with Iran is once again on the table. Such deals with extreme regimes are worthless.”
Beginning talks on Tuesday, world powers met in Vienna with the Islamic Republic to discuss a possible return to the JCPOA. Unwilling to hold direct talks, Iran met with European intermediaries with both sides looking to bring the US and Iran back into full compliance of the 2015 terms.
“The objective is some form of an accord ahead of June’s Iranian presidential election, an EU official said, although Iranian and US officials have said there is no rush,” reported the Jerusalem Post.
Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator, Abbas Araqchi, stated on Iranian state television that “the talks in Vienna were constructive…our next meeting will be on Friday.”
The US declared it will not make concessions until Iran takes action to conform to the original terms. Leaders across Israel are not convinced of the deal’s ability to curb Iranian nuclear development.
Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz was on track to take over as prime minister in November 2021 as part of a power-sharing deal struck between Netanyahu’s Likud and Gantz’s Blue and White party; however, it is unlikely Gantz will take the presidency as his party is set to lose the upcoming election, wrote Newsweek.
Despite the political conflict, both leaders are united in their stance against the JCPOA. In an interview with Fox News Radio in early March, Gantz stated Israel will “stand independently” against the Iranian regime if needed.
“Gantz’s warning comes after weeks of rising tensions in the Middle East, with attacks on American and Iraqi troops by Iranian-backed Iraqi militia groups, American and Israeli airstrikes in Syria, an attack against Israeli shipping in the Gulf of Oman, and intensified operations against Saudi Arabia by Iran-backed Houthis in Yemen,” Newsweek wrote.
In a meeting with his Likud party of the Israeli Knesset, Netanyahu stated “the danger that Iran will return – and this time with an international imprimatur – to a path that will allow it to develop a nuclear arsenal is on our doorstep on this very day.”
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