The following are remarks by Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid at the opening of a briefing on Wednesday for foreign correspondents that focused on the ongoing nuclear talks between Iran and world powers in Vienna:
A week ago, the E.U. made Iran what they called their “final offer” for a return to the nuclear deal. They declared it was “take it or leave it.” The Iranians, as always, did not say no. They said, “yes, but,” and then they sent a draft of their own, with more changes and demands.
Since then, there have been more discussions about this. The Iranians are making demands again. The negotiators are ready to make concessions, again. This is not the first time this has happened. The countries of the West draw a red line, the Iranians ignore it, and the red line moves.
If the Iranians didn’t “take it,” why didn’t the world “leave it?”
On the table right now is a bad deal. It would give Iran a hundred billion dollars a year. This money will not build schools or hospitals. This is a hundred billion dollars a year that will be used to undermine stability in the Middle East and spread terror around the globe.
This money will fund the Revolutionary Guards. It will fund the Basij, who oppress the Iranian people. It will fund more attacks on American bases in the Middle East. It will be used to strengthen Hezbollah, Hamas and Islamic Jihad.
This money will go to the people who are trying to kill authors and thinkers in New York. And of course, it will be used to strengthen Iran’s nuclear program.
Israel is not against any agreement. We are against this agreement, because it is a bad one. Because it cannot be accepted as it is written right now. In our eyes, it does not meet the standards set by President [Joe] Biden himself: preventing Iran from becoming a nuclear state.
This agreement endangers the independence of the International Atomic Energy Agency, the IAEA. It creates huge political pressure on them to close open cases without completing a professional investigation.
This week, Rafael Grossi, the director-general of the IAEA, was asked if he [had] received good enough answers from the Iranians on these open files.
This is what he said: “Absolutely not. So far, Iran has not given us the technically credible explanations that we need to explain the origin of many traces of uranium. … Let us have an explanation—if there was nuclear material there, where is it now?”
How is it possible to sign a deal with Iran when this is what the body responsible for supervising a deal says?
How is it possible to sign a deal with the Iranians that gives them a hundred billion dollar a year prize for breaking all of their commitments?
The sweeping removal of sanctions on sectors like banking—against financial institutions designated today as supporting terrorism—means the Iranians will have no problem whatsoever laundering money.
Iran will assist other nations facing sanctions to evade them. They will be able to create a direct route for financing terror.
We have an open dialogue with the American administration on all matters of disagreement.
I appreciate their willingness to listen and work together: the United States is and will remain our closest ally, and President Biden is one of the best friends Israel has ever known.
In the last few days, I have spoken with the President of France and the Chancellor of Germany. We have a close, and almost daily, dialogue with the U.K.
I told them these negotiations have reached the point where they must stop and say “enough.”
All that being said, we have made it clear to everyone: If a deal is signed, it does not obligate Israel. We will act to prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear state. We are not prepared to live with a nuclear threat above our heads from an extremist, violent Islamist regime.
This will not happen.
Because we will not let it happen.