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Vienna has been hosting talks over the lifting of sanctions and the return of Tehran and Washington to the JCPOA, or Iran Nuclear Deal. After assuming office in January, US President Joe Biden had signalled that a revival of the nuclear containment agreement with the Islamic Republic was possible after Donald Trump ditched the deal in 2018.
Nikki Haley has warned against salvaging the landmark Iran Nuclear Deal, saying it’s ultimately a “death wish” for Israel and the world at large, reported The Jerusalem Post.
The former US Ambassador to the UN toured southern Israel on Sunday and Monday, meeting with the country’s top officials including Foreign Minister Yair Lapid and former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, whose twelve-year consecutive tenure has come to an end.
Netanyahu was ousted after opposition leaders Yair Lapid and Naftali Bennett managed to put together a new coalition government on 13 June.
Despite being in touch with Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s office, she said she’d been unable to meet with him. Addressing reporters, she said:
“The idea right now that you have multiple countries around the world, including the United States, looking to figure out how to redo this Iran deal is nothing more than a death wish for Israel and eventually a death wish for the world.”
Haley arrived in Israel on a solidarity mission organised by Christians United for Israel.
Against the backdrop of the ongoing Vienna talks aimed at rebuilding the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), as the Iran Nuclear Deal is also called, Haley ripped into the Joe Biden administration’s efforts to reenter the agreement between Iran and major world powers.
Biden’s predecessor Donald Trump withdrew the US from the deal in 2018. According to Haley, efforts of the 46th POTU, who was “falling over himself to get back into the Iran deal,” were “pretty disgusting.”
“Iran is never going to change its ways. It is never going to stop saying death to Israel. It is never going to stop saying death to America. And the only way that we can effect change is to pull the money back and pull the purse strings back,” said the American politician.
‘Hezbollah Waiting in the Wings’
Haley referenced events in May when Israel and the Hamas movement, which governs the Gaza Strip, were locked in an armed conflict until a ceasefire was brokered on 20 May.
Ahead of the violence, days of clashes took place between Palestinians and the Israeli forces in East Jerusalem over an Israeli court’s decision to evict several Palestinian families from the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood.
Israeli police also restricted access to the al-Aqsa mosque compound – one of the holiest sites in Islam – during prayers on the last Friday of Ramadan.
As Hamas fired rockets into Israel, and the Israeli military carried out air and missile strikes as part of its Operation Guardian of the Walls, the Gaza Health Ministry said more than 200 people were killed. On the other side, 12 Israelis died, including two children, while several hundred were wounded.
In Haley’s opinion, the recent fighting between the IDF and Gaza-based militants, in which both sides claimed victory, pales in comparison to the threat posed by Hezbollah, which is going to be the “next issue” for Israel.
“If you fund Iran, you are funding terrorists that want to kill Israel… You have Hezbollah waiting in the wings, and Hezbollah makes Hamas look like child’s play,” Haley said.
She also condemned Biden for failing to thank the Arab countries, such as the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, for normalising ties with Israel as part of the Abraham Accords, reached on 13 August 2020 under former US president Trump. Haley suggested that by opting to conduct talks with Iranian negotiators Biden was, in effect, “slapping them in the face.”
“You cannot be friends with Israel, and you cannot say thank you to the people who want to be friends with Israel, by getting back into the Iran deal,” she said.
Haley, who underscored that she didn’t want to see Israel “standing alone,” added that she believes the country will be ok because “you cannot destroy what God has blessed, and God blessed Israel.” She concluded by hailing Israel’s “great job showing what happens when you mess with them.”
Earlier, Amir Avivi, a retired brigadier general and senior Israeli defence establishment official, voiced concern while speaking to local media, saying Hamas may try to “test” the newly-formed Bennett government militarily.
At the same time in Vienna, Iranian envoys held another round of negotiations with international delegations a day after EU coordinators suggested that differences over the 2015 Iran Nuclear Deal had narrowed further.
However, Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi was cited by the Islamic Republic’s state media as saying a deal was unlikely to emerge in the coming week, as more time was needed to thrash out the details.
Biden and other G-7 leaders expressed support for the ongoing Vienna process seeking to ensure that Iran returns to commitments it made in 2015, aimed at making the development of a nuclear weapon impossible, in exchange for easing of US sanctions.
In a joint statement after a three-day summit in the UK that ended on Sunday, the leaders said:
“We are committed to ensuring that Iran will never develop a nuclear weapon.”