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Israeli Foreign Minister Lapid ‘lashes out’ at EU’s Borrell for his visit to Tehran ‘while Iran had been plotting to kill Israeli civilians in Turkey’

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The Israeli Foreign minister accused the EU foreign affairs chief of disregarding recent accusations that Iran had been plotting to kill Israeli civilians in Turkey.

Lapid had previously told Borrell that visiting Iran now was “a strategic mistake that sends the wrong message” to Tehran.

 

Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid lashed out at EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell over his visit to Tehran aimed at reviving the stalled negotiations over the Iran nuclear deal, Politico reported.

After meeting with Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian on Saturday in Tehran, Borrell announced  to the press that talks on the 2015 nuclear agreement, known as the Joint Compreghensive Plan of Action or JCPOA, are to resume between Iran and world powers ‘’in the coming days.’’ He also said indirect talks between the U.S. and Iran would also resume.

According to Politico, Josep Borrell had reached out to Lapid before heading to Tehran as he had wanted to consult with the Israeli Foreign Minister on a number of points ahead of his meetings with the Iranians. EU officials said that Borrell reached out to Lapid precisely to consult on all of these points. And in his public remarks after the meetings in Tehran, Borrell noted that he had raised them with the Iranians.

But Lapid, who is expected to take over Israel’s premiership after the Knesset was disbanded, accused Borrell of disregarding recent accusations that Iran had been plotting to kill Israeli civilians in Turkey.

Last week, Turkish media reported that the country’s security forces detained several people allegedly working for an Iranian intelligence cell that planned to assassinate or snatch Israeli tourists in Istanbul.

The Israeli Foreign Minister had previously told Borrell that visiting Iran now was “a strategic mistake that sends the wrong message” to Tehran..

“Talking about ‘great potential’ in the Iranian context, while Iran is trying to murder Israeli citizens throughout the world and especially in Turkey, indicates a worrying lack of care for the lives of Israeli citizens,” said Lapid.

In Brussels, Lapid’s criticism of the visit was brushed off as part of an effort to “sabotage” the nuclear talks, according to Politico.

Borrell himself has previously dismissed Israel’s concerns regarding Iran’s nuclear programs, saying at the Munich Security Conference in 2019, “Iran wants to wipe out Israel; nothing new about that. You have to live with it,” according to Politico.

An EU official, quoted by Politico, acknowledged that “there are extremely concerning issues” including the detention by Iran of EU citizens, but that Borrell had raised these concerns, including about Israel’s own security, directly with Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian. Borrell has often said that restoring compliance with the nuclear deal by all sides would be good for global stability, and good for the Middle East region, Israel included.

On Saturday, Reuters cited Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian as stating that indirect talks with the United States on reviving the 2015 nuclear pact would resume soon.

“We are prepared to resume talks in the coming days. What is important for Iran is to fully receive the economic benefits of the 2015 accord,” said Amirabdollahian, adding that his meeting with Borrell had been “long but positive.’’

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