Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu has said he is prepared to risk “friction” with the United States to prevent Iran from going nuclear if it goes ahead with the reinstatement of the Iran nuclear deal.
The now disputed leader, after an 11-day war with Hamas, said a nuclear Iran remains the greatest threat to Israel.
“If we have to choose – I hope this doesn’t happen – between friction with our great friend the United States and eliminating the existential threat – eliminating the existential threat,” Netanyahu said.
“I told my friend of 40 years, Joe Biden, and I said to him: ‘With or without a deal, we will continue to do everything in our power to thwart the arming of Iran with nuclear weapons. “,” Netanyahu said at a ceremony honoring David Barnea, the new head of Mossad, Israel’s external intelligence agency.
Netanyahu’s remarks come as the United States participated in talks to reinstate the 2015 deal, a campaign pledge from President Biden, in Vienna, Austria. The Jewish head of state has been a vocal opponent of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), which relieves Iran of sanctions in return for perceived restrictions on nuclear activity.
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“I can tell you that I hope the United States does not revert to the old JCPOA because we believe this agreement paves the way for Iran to have an arsenal of nuclear weapons with international legitimacy,” Netanyahu said last week.
Israel also says any deal must address Iran’s support for militant groups, such as Hamas. The terrorist group told its Iranian backers: “Our factories and workshops have resumed production of thousands of missiles to stop the [attacks] of Netanyahu in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, ”said Fathi Hamad, a member of Hamas’s political bureau, according to the official Iranian news agency Fars.
Meanwhile, Iran says its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes only and says the nuclear deal should be reinstated without any changes.
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United States withdrew from the landmark 2015 agreement in 2018 after President Donald Trump said the pact had to be renegotiated. He then reimposed heavy sanctions on the Islamic Republic in an unsuccessful attempt to bring Tehran to new talks.
Iran responded by steadily increasing its violations of the agreement, which aims to prevent the country from obtaining nuclear weapons. Iran began enriching uranium to a higher purity, storing more than what was allowed, and began using more advanced centrifuges in an attempt to put pressure on world powers that remained in the deal – l ‘Germany, France, Britain, Russia and China – for economic relief.
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Iran and the United States have both said the other must take the first step. Biden says Iran must return to compliance before the United States returns to the deal, and Iran has said it is ready to reverse all of its violations, but Washington must lift all sanctions imposed in virtue of Asset.
Fox News’ Tyler Olson and The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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