Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid on Wednesday urged Western powers to halt talks aimed at reviving a nuclear deal that he said would fill Iran’s coffers and “undermine” Middle East stability.
The 2015 accord, which is designed to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon, has been on life-support since the unilateral withdrawal in 2018 by then US president Donald Trump, a move celebrated by Israel.
His predecessor Joe Biden has sought to return the US to the accord, and after a year and a half of on-off talks, recent progress on reaching an agreement has put Iran’s regional arch foe Israel on edge.
“On the table right now is a bad deal. It would give Iran $100 billion a year,” Lapid told journalists.
The money would be used by militant groups Hamas, Hezbollah and the Islamic Jihad to “undermine stability in the Middle East and spread terror around the globe,” said the Israeli premier.
His remarks come a day after US officials said Iran had agreed to ease key demands that had held up reaching an agreement.
The United States is expected to give its opinion shortly on Iran’s response to a “final” proposed text submitted by the European Union to revive the accord.
Despite the apparent shift in Iran’s position, Israel remains staunchly opposed to a deal which would see the lifting on economic sanctions imposed on the Islamic republic.
“In our eyes, it does not meet the standards set by Biden himself: preventing Iran from becoming a nuclear state,” Lapid said.
The Israeli leader’s press briefing was his latest effort to sway Western powers, after he spoke to the leadership of Britain, France and Germany in recent days.
“I told them these negotiations have reached the point where they must stop and say ‘enough’,” Lapid said.
“We are against this agreement, because it is a bad one,” he added.
A senior Israeli official at the briefing criticised the draft text for not stipulating the destruction of centrifuges, which they said allowed Iran to “restart” them at a time it deemed appropriate.
US officials said Tuesday that Iran had dropped demands to block some UN nuclear inspections, after also relaxing its insistence on Washington removing its powerful Revolutionary Guards from a terrorism blacklist.