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Israel worries Iran will get sanctions relief without capping nuclear projects

Israel's Prime Minister Naftali Bennett heads a weekly cabinet meeting at his office in Jerusalem
FILE PHOTO: Israel’s Prime Minister Naftali Bennett heads a weekly cabinet meeting at his office in Jerusalem, November 14, 2021. Ariel Schalit/Pool via REUTERS

November 28, 2021

JERUSALEM (Reuters) -Israel worries Iran will secure a windfall in sanctions relief in renewed nuclear negotiations with world powers but will not sufficiently roll back projects with bomb-making potential, Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said on Sunday.

Negotiators will convene in Vienna on Monday https://www.reuters.com/markets/commodities/low-expectations-nuclear-talks-iran-creates-facts-grounds-2021-11-28 in a last-ditch effort to salvage a nuclear deal which the United States under then-President Donald Trump quit in 2018, reimposing sanctions on Iran. That led to breaches of the deal by Tehran, and dismayed the other powers involved.

Israel, which is not a party to the talks, opposed the original 2015 pact as too limited in scope and duration. Israeli leaders have long threatened military action against Iran if they deem diplomacy a dead end for denying it nuclear weaponry.

The Islamic Republic says its nuclear ambitions are peaceful.

“Israel is very worried about the readiness to remove the sanctions and to allow a flow of billions (of dollars) to Iran in exchange for unsatisfactory restrictions in the nuclear realm,” Bennett told his cabinet in televised remarks.

“This is the message that we are relaying in every manner, whether to the Americans or to the other countries negotiating with Iran.”

Few expect a breakthrough in the talks as Iran’s uranium enrichment activities have escalated in an apparent bid to gain leverage against the West.

Six rounds of indirect talks were held between April and June. The new round begins after a hiatus caused by the election of a new Iranian president, Ebrahim Raisi, a hardline cleric.

(Reporting by Dan WilliamsEditing by Jeffrey Heller and Mark Heinrich)

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