JERUSALEM (AP) — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday said it would be a mistake “to go back to business as usual with Iran,” signaling Israeli resistance to an expected push by President-elect Joe Biden to revive the international nuclear deal with Iran.
Netanyahu spoke at a press conference with Robert O’Brien, President Donald Trump’s national security adviser.
But his comments appeared to be aimed at Biden, who has said the U.S. will rejoin the nuclear deal if Iran agrees to strict adherence. The deal, which lifted sanctions on Iran in exchange for curbs on its nuclear program, has unraveled since Trump withdrew from it in 2018.
Netanyahu led an unsuccessful fight against the deal when it was negotiated by then-President Barack Obama in 2015 and welcomed Trump’s withdrawal three years later. Netanyahu says the deal will not prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon and fails to address other belligerent Iranian behavior, such as its support for proxies across the region and its development of a long-range missile program.
“As long as Iran continues to subjugate and threaten its neighbors, as long as Iran continues calling for Israel’s destruction, as long as Iran continues to bankroll, equip and train terrorist organizations throughout the region and the world, and as long as Iran persists in its dangerous quest for nuclear weapons and the means to deliver them, we shouldn’t go back to business as usual with Iran,” Netanyahu said Sunday. “We should all unite to prevent this major threat to world peace.”
O’Brien arrived days after the U.S. announced that Israel and Morocco were establishing full diplomatic relations — making it the fourth such deal between Israel and an Arab state brokered by the outgoing Trump administration.
O’Brien said the Trump administration’s pressure campaign against Iran has been successful and said the string of agreements between Israel and Arab countries would cement what he called “the legacies of peacemakers” Trump and Netanyahu.
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