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Israel sees no nuclear deal with Iran before US mid-term elections

Israel does not anticipate a
renewal of Iran’s nuclear deal with world powers before the US
mid-term elections in November, an Israeli official said, after European parties to the negotiations voiced
frustration with Tehran.

Having supported then-US president Donald Trump’s
withdrawal from a 2015 Iranian nuclear deal which it deemed too
limited, Israel has similarly been advocating against the
re-entry sought by the current US administration.

On Saturday, Britain, France and Germany said they had
“serious doubts” about Iran’s intentions after it tried to link
a revival of the deal with a closure of UN watchdog probes
into uranium traces at three of its nuclear sites.

Tehran called the European statement “unconstructive”.

“At this point in time, it appears that a nuclear agreement
with Iran will not be signed at least until after the (US)
mid-term elections,” the Israeli official told reporters on Sunday on
condition of anonymity.

Some Israeli commentators saw the remark as anticipating
reluctance by US President Joe Biden to enter a deal close
enough to the vote for Republican rivals to use it in their
domestic campaigns against his Democratic Party.

Briefing the Israeli cabinet on Sunday, Prime Minister Yair
Lapid thanked the European powers “for their forthright stand”.

“Israel is conducting a successful diplomatic drive to halt
the nuclear deal and prevent the lifting of sanction on Iran,”
he said.

“It’s not over yet. The road is long. But there are
encouraging signs.”

READ MORE: Iran slams European powers over criticism of its nuclear stance

Lapid in Berlin

Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid arrived in Germany on Sunday in his latest diplomatic effort to persuade Western powers to ditch their tattered nuclear deal with the Jewish state’s arch nemesis Iran.

A senior Israeli official told AFP news agency: “Our understanding is that there will be no return to the JCPOA at least until mid-November. We are working with our partners to develop a new strategy.”

“It’s important to continue to coordinate positions and to influence the European position. Germany has an important role in this,” the official added.

Lapid is scheduled to meet Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock and President Frank-Walter Steinmeier before returning to Israel late Monday.

Iran, which denies seeking nuclear arms, has since the US
walkout itself breached the 2015 deal with ramped-up uranium
enrichment, a process that can create bomb fuel down the line.

Israel is not a party to the Vienna talks. But its worries
about Iran and threats to take military action against its
arch-foe if it deems diplomacy a dead end keep Western capitals
attentive.

READ MORE:
Iran sends ‘constructive’ response to US offers on nuclear deal

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