New yet weaker Iran N-deal imminent: Israel PM

Jerusalem: Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said that Iran may soon sign a new nuclear agreement with world powers but the new deal is ‘weaker’ than the previous one.

Referring to the negotiations in Vienna between Iran and world powers, Bennett told his weekly cabinet meeting that “the talks are advancing quickly… We may see an agreement shortly”, reports Xinhua news agency.

But “the new apparent agreement is shorter and weaker than the previous one,” he said. The Israeli leader warned that the lift of sanctions against Iran will provide the country with more money to build weapons.

Israel is prepared to protect its citizens’ security, on its own, in any scenario, the Prime Minister noted. While addressing the Munich Security Conference, Defense Minister Benny Gantz urged the international community to use the emerging deal to tighten the oversight over Iran’s nuclear program.

“Action must be taken to ensure that Iran does not continue enrichment in additional facilities, and oversight must be increased,” he told the conference. Israel has been a staunch opponent of the 2015 Iranian nuclear agreement, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), which offered Tehran sanction relief in return for restrictions and oversight over its nuclear program.

Former US President Donald Trump pulled out of the JCPOA in May 2018 and reimposed sanctions on Iran, which prompted the latter to drop some of its nuclear commitments one year later and advance its halted nuclear program.

Since April 2021, eight rounds of talks have been held in Vienna between Iran and the remaining parties, namely the UK, China, France, Russia plus Germany, with the US indirectly involved in the talks, to revive the landmark deal.

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