US, Israel 'committed' to preventing Iran getting nuclear bomb: Blinken

AFP , Sunday 27 Mar 2022

The US and Israel are committed to ensure Iran does not acquire a nuclear weapon, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Sunday, as the allies acknowledged differences over negotiations with Tehran.

Nuclear Station, Iran
A nuclear research reactor at the headquarters of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, which went online with American help in 1967 - before Iran s 1979 Islamic Revolution strained ties between the two countries, in Tehran, Iran has converted a fraction of its stockpile of highly enriched uranium into material that can detect cancers and other diseases. AP

Blinken made the comments in Jerusalem alongside his Israeli counterpart Yair Lapid, who told reporters Israel had "disagreements" with Washington about a possible deal to revive the 2015 nuclear accord with Tehran.

Blinken said President Joe Biden's administration believes that "the return to full implementation" of the deal was "the best way to put Iran's programme back in the box that it was in but has escaped from since the United States withdrew from the agreement," under former president Donald Trump in 2018.

Israel's government firmly opposed the terms of the 2015 deal and has said that re-activating the original deal is insufficient to curb the Iranian threat.

But, Blinken said, "when it comes to the most important element, (Israel and the US) see eye to eye. We are both committed, both determined, that Iran will never acquire a nuclear weapon."

Lapid said that amid its differences with Washington, Israel remains in "open and honest dialogue" with its closest ally on the Iran nuclear issue.

"Israel will do anything we believe is needed to stop the Iranian nuclear program. Anything. From our point of view, the Iranian threat is not theoretical. The Iranians want to destroy Israel. They will not succeed. We will not let them," Lapid said.

The European Union's foreign policy chief said at the weekend that a deal with Iran, known as the Joint Collective Plan of Action, will likely be renewed "in a matter of days."

Iran has been engaged for months in talks in Vienna to revive the accord with Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia directly. The United States is taking part indirectly in the negotiations.

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