Axios: As Iran Talks Progress, US-Israel Tensions Build (Olivier Fitoussi/Pool/AFP via Getty Images)
Thursday, 22 April 2021 09:22 PM
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has made clear to his delegation traveling to Washington, D.C., that Israel doesn’t approve of the U.S.’ return to the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran and refuses to discuss its contents, Axios reports.
The report comes as the U.S. moves closer to a diplomatic deal with Iran. The Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday that the Biden administration has indicated it is open to easing sanctions on Iran’s economy, including finance and oil. Iran is also requesting that the U.S. lift its sweeping ''foreign terrorist organization'' designation of Iran’s military force, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.
''I think they have a pretty clear sense at this point about our view about the sanctions that we’re going to have to lift,'' and those ''that we would not lift,'' a senior State Department official told the Journal.
Netanyahu has said in recent public speeches that Israel will not be bound by a deal that doesn’t protect its interests and that Israel will defend itself.
Israel and Iran are arch-enemies. Israel accuses Iran of trying to develop nuclear weapons and has opposed U.S.-led efforts to revive the international nuclear deal with Iran. With Israel’s encouragement, then-President Donald Trump withdrew from the deal in 2018.
Iran recently began enriching a small amount of uranium up to 60% purity, the highest level ever for its program that edges even closer to weapons-grade levels. However, Iran insists its program is for peaceful purposes. It also has called for more international scrutiny of the Dimona facility.
Netanyahu has repeatedly said Israel will not allow Iran to develop a nuclear weapons capability, and defense officials have acknowledged preparing possible attack missions on Iranian targets. Israel has twice bombed other Mideast nations to target their nuclear programs.
All the incidents come as Iran negotiates in Vienna with world powers over the U.S. potentially re-entering its tattered nuclear deal with world powers.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.