AJN Agency.- Prime Minister Yair Lapid failed to block the disastrous nuclear deal with Iran and wasted his time campaigning in the US against its revival, said opposition leader and Likud Party leader Benjamin Netanyahu.
“This deal is worse than the previous deal. This is a strategic disaster for Israel and them [Lapid y el ministro de Defensa Benny Gantz] They did nothing,” Netanyahu said.
He spoke to reporters after a briefing with Lapid on Iran as Israel prepares for the EU to succeed in its efforts to renew the 2015 deal after the Trump administration pulled out of the accord in 2018.
Until he was removed as prime minister in 2021, Netanyahu was one of the main international opponents of the original deal with Iran, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.
Netanyahu clashed with the Obama administration, which helped broker the deal, and delivered a speech against him in Congress before it was finalized.
Lapid took a strong diplomatic stance against the deal, but didn’t try to go over US President Joe Biden like Netanyahu did to Obama to speak directly to the American people.
Netanyahu said his strategy was wrong.
Lapid and Gantz “fell asleep at the wheel last year,” Netanyahu said. “They should have met with dozens of senators and hundreds of members of Congress and appeared on multiple television networks to pressure the Biden administration not to sign this deal, but they didn’t. Every hour of not doing is wasted.
He credited the Trump administration’s decision to pull out of the deal, explaining that it was due to his lobbying campaign. But now there is no such pressure, he said.
Before the meeting, Lapid sought to turn the conversation into a show of unity that would place Iran above partisan politics.
“On national security issues, Israel has no opposition or coalition. Israel is strong and will work together to defend its security interests against those who seek to harm us,” Lapid said before the meeting.
After the meeting, Netanyahu paid lip service to this idea of unity in the face of disaster.
“We will support any strong general action against Iran,” Netanyahu said, but later added: “I don’t see any such action.” He said he was “more worried about Iran after the meeting with Lapid than before”.
Netanyahu, under whose mandate the first deal was reached, has vowed to do all he can to prevent a nuclear Iran if he returns to the prime minister’s office after the November election.
“I have a clear message to the ayatollahs in Tehran: On November 1, we will bring to Israel a strong and unwavering leadership that will ensure, with and without a deal, that they do not have nuclear weapons.”
The Yesh Adid party attacked Netanyahu for exploiting the situation for his own political interests.
“In addition to the enormous damage he has caused during his tenure, the opposition leader is sabotaging and endangering the safety of Israeli citizens,” Yesh Adit said.
“While Netanyahu produces and directs videos, the Israeli government led by Labit will do everything possible to protect the interest of national security.”
Lapid said he did not want to get involved in political conflicts at the expense of Israel’s security.
“It is important for Israel to take a united stand against Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons. I appeal to the Leader of the Opposition and everyone not to allow political opinions to harm our national security,” Lapid said.
Gantz, who is in Japan, issued a similar statement.
“Iran, in its pursuit of nuclear weapons, does not discriminate between one Israeli government or another,” Gantz said.
The Lapid-led government is making a last-ditch effort to convince the Biden administration not to renew the deal originally signed between Tehran and six world powers: the United States, Russia, China, France, Germany and the United Kingdom.
National Security Adviser Eyal Hulata and Defense Secretary Benny Kantz have been in Washington in recent weeks. Mossad director David Barnea will be there next week.
The US has already given its response to the latest draft of the EU document, which contains clarifications from Tehran, and is now expected to provide further comments to the EU.
A key element of the International Atomic Energy Agency’s investigation into the remains of uranium at undisclosed Iranian nuclear facilities has been preventing the revival of the JCPOA.
“The essence of the JCPOA negotiations is to reject these allegations,” Mohammad Eslami, head of Iran’s nuclear agency, reported on the Iran International website on Monday.
The Biden administration and the IAEA have insisted that Iran provide the IAEA with answers about the uranium traces.
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