Israeli PM urges world powers to resist Iran’s ‘blackmail’

Israeli PM calls on world powers not to ‘give in to Iran’s nuclear blackmail’ as talks begin in Vienna

JERUSALEM – Israel’s prime minister on Monday called on world powers not to “give in to Iran’s nuclear blackmail” as negotiations begin in Vienna.

In a video statement delivered to representatives of countries beginning negotiations with Iran, Naftali Bennett said Tehran is seeking to “end sanctions for almost nothing” and keep its nuclear program intact while receiving hundreds of billions of dollars once sanctions are lifted. The Associated Press obtained the video.

Negotiators from Iran and world powers meet in Vienna on Monday to resume talks aimed at reviving the 2015 nuclear deal.

Iran has ramped up uranium enrichment since the United States withdrew from the landmark nuclear deal between world powers and Iran in 2018.

Israel vocally opposed that agreement, and Israeli officials now say Tehran is closer than ever to developing nuclear weapons, something it will not abide by. Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid is visiting London and Paris this week to discuss Iran with British and French officials. Defense Secretary Benny Gantz will travel to Washington this week with the same goal.

Iran insists that its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes only. She blamed the deal’s collapse on the Trump administration’s decision to withdraw from it and restore tough sanctions.

Israel is widely believed to be the only nuclear-armed country in the Middle East, although it maintains a policy of ambiguity about its own programme.

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