Wednesday, 19 Jan 2022 - 17 of Shevat, 5782

On eve of Vienna talks on nuclear Iran, Israel’s FM Lapid travels to Paris and London for talks with French and British leaders

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As talks to revive the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers are set to resume in Vienna on Monday Tuesday, Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid is travelling to London and Paris for meetings with French President Emmanuel Macron and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

Lapid will meet with UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and French President Emmanuel Macron during his November 28-30 trip, as well as his British and French counterparts Liz Truss and Jean-Yves Le Drian. 

“The minister’s visit will focus on the resumption of nuclear talks in Vienna as well as the deepening of bilateral relations between Israel and Britain and France,”said the Israeli foreign ministry.

Talks to restore the nuclear deal between Iran and world powers were suspended last June after the election of Iranian president Ebrahim Raisi, a hardline cleric.

Tehran’s conflicts with IAEA, the UN atomic watchdog, which monitors the nuclear programme, have festered.

Iran has pressed ahead with its uranium enrichment programme and the IAEA says its inspectors have been treated roughly and refused access to reinstall monitoring cameras at a site it deems essential to reviving the deal.

“If Iran thinks it can use this time to build more leverage and then come back and say they want something better, it simply won’t work. We and our partners won’t go for it,” US envoy Robert Malley told BBC Sounds on Saturday.

He warned that Washington would be ready to ramp up pressure on Tehran if talks collapse.

Lapid”s visit to London comes shortly after Israel’s President Isaac Herzog traveled to London and met with Boris Johnson. Herzog asked him to take a tough stance in nuclear negotiations, saying “We are looking forward for our allies in the P5+1 to be as tough as possible because we do not believe that they [Iran] are operating in a bona fide manner, and only if all options are on the table may things move in the right direction.

Boris Johnson acknowledged Herzog’s concern, noting the world “doesn’t have much time” to stop Iran from developing a nuclear weapon.

There is a strong sense in Israel that Iran will continue to drag out the talks while they continue to enrich uranium, approaching the status of becoming a “nuclear threshold state”.

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