In meeting with U.S., Israel expresses serious reservations on Iran nuclear deal

U.S. Secretary of State Blinken visits Italy
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken meets with Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid in Rome, Italy, June 27, 2021. Andrew Harnik/Pool via REUTERS

June 27, 2021

By Humeyra Pamuk

ROME (Reuters) – Israel has serious reservations about the Iran nuclear deal being put together in Vienna, new foreign minister Yair Lapid told his America counterpart, as he pledged to fix “the mistakes made” between the two countries over the past few years.

In their first face-to-face meeting since Israel’s new government was sworn in two weeks ago, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Lapid said they would also discuss Israel’s normalization accords with Gulf Arab states. Blinken said he would also be raising the issue of humanitarian assistance into Gaza.

Iran and the United States have been holding indirect talks on reviving the 2015 nuclear deal between Tehran and major powers that imposed restrictions on Tehran’s nuclear activities in exchange for lifting international sanctions.

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, a nationalist atop of a cross-partisan coalition, has hewed to the opposition of his conservative predecessor, Benjamin Netanyahu, to the 2015 Iranian nuclear deal, whose caps on projects with bomb-making potential Israel deemed too lax.

“Israel has some serious reservations about the Iran nuclear deal that is being put together in Vienna. We believe the way to discuss those disagreements is through direct…conversations, not in press conferences,” Lapid said in his brief remarks before the meeting in Rome began. He also said Israel will be working to improve ties with Washington.

“In the past few years, mistakes were made. Israel’s bipartisan standing was hurt and we will fix those mistakes together,” he added.

(Reporting by Humeyra Pamuk in Rome; Editing by Daniel Wallis and Lisa Shumaker)

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