Tal Heinrich | September 7, 2022
Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid sent a message to Iran on Tuesday, warning that Israel has far-reaching military capabilities and will use those to thwart terrorism.
“If Iran keeps trying, it will discover Israel’s long arm and its abilities,” Lapid said while visiting an F-35 squadron at an Israeli Air Force base on Tuesday. “We will continue to act on every front against terrorism and those who wish us harm.”
While Lapid had coordinated his remarks with the White House in advance, it appears that talk of an imminent deal is being toned down. An Israeli news outlet, Zman Yisrael, reported that the deal is off the table for now.
This message was conveyed by U.S. President Joe Biden and other officials to Lapid quelling rising concern in Israel that the world powers are close to finalizing a nuclear deal with Iran that gives in to many of Tehran’s demands.
Earlier this week, Israel sent Mossad chief David Barnea to Washington, D.C., for a series of meetings with American officials over the looming deal, which he called “a total lie.”
On Monday, European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell expressed his discouragement over the progress achieved in the latest stage of negotiations.
“I am less confident today than 28 hours before on the convergence of the negotiation process,” Borrell said. “If the process doesn’t converge, the whole process is in danger. If the purpose is to close the deal quickly, it’s not going to happen.”
On Aug. 24, Washington responded to Iran’s comments on the E.U.’s final draft proposal that seeks to revive the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action nuclear deal.
After reviewing the proposal, Tehran said the restoration of the original agreement would be contingent upon the International Atomic Energy Agency ending its probe into found uranium material at unnamed sites in Iran. After Western negotiators characterized Iran’s reply “not constructive,” the process has seemed to be moving backwards.
The Israeli prime minister said this week that it is still “too early to know if we succeeded in blocking the Iran nuclear deal.”
“We will continue to act on all fronts against terrorism and against those who seek to harm us,” he said.
Lapid underlined that U.S. President Joe Biden has given Israel “full freedom of action to act as we see fit in order to prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear threat.”
U.S. Ambassador to Israel Thomas Nides echoed the message while speaking to reporters in Jerusalem on Monday, stating that Biden had reassured Lapid in a phone call last week that the U.S. will “never tie Israel’s hands.”
“We understand the aggression of Iran,” Nides said. “[Biden] was very clear to the prime minister in that belief.”
This week in Jerusalem, Lapid met with a bipartisan delegation from Congress, led by U.S. Senators Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and Bob Menendez, D-N.J.. Lapid briefed the American lawmakers on Israel’s position on the Iran nuclear deal, as Barnea had done before his Monday flight to the U.S.
Last week, 16 Republicans and 34 Democrats from the U.S. House of Representatives issued a letter demanding the Biden administration release “the full text of the agreement and any side agreements” to Congress before signing it. They called on the White House to provide Congress with “an in-depth briefing on the matter, and to consult with all key stakeholders.”