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Israeli PM in Germany to discuss Iran nuclear deal

September 12, 2022

Yair Lapid said there were "encouraging signs" that Israel's plan to stop the revival of the deal was working. He is also accompanied by Holocaust survivors who will meet the German chancellor.

Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid
Lapid and Scholz will hold a joint press conference in BerlinImage: Ronen Zvulun/REUTERS/Pool/AP/dpa/picture alliance

Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid arrived in Germany on Sunday as part of a push to persuade Western powers to stop efforts to revive a nuclear agreement with Iran.

Lapid is scheduled to meet German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock on Monday.

On Saturday, Germany, France and the UK raised concerns about Iran's commitment to revive the 2015 nuclear deal.

Speaking at a cabinet meeting ahead of his flight Lapid thanked the three countries for their "strong position."

Iran nuclear deal hangs in the balance

Israel has long opposed the deal believing it won't stop Iran from becoming a nuclear state.

The 2015 agreement, known formally as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), gave Iran sanctions relief in return for restricting its nuclear program.

Former US President Donald Trump withdrew from the deal in 2018 and reimposed sanctions against Iran, but negotiations underway in Vienna since April 2021 have sought to restore the agreement.

Lapid told his cabinet that "Israel is conducting a successful diplomatic drive to halt the nuclear deal and prevent the lifting of sanctions on Iran," and added, "It's not over yet. The road is long. But there are encouraging signs."

Iran earlier this month said it submitted its latest response to the European Union's proposed text to revive the deal.

Iran did not disclose its response, but US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said yesterday that Iran's latest reply was a step "backwards."

Lapid, Scholz in Holocaust survivors to visit Wannsee

The Israeli leader also brought several Holocaust survivors with him on the trip.

"As we stepped off the plane together and onto German soil, we were welcomed by a German military honour guard," Lapid said after arriving on Sunday evening.

"This is their victory, mine as the son of a Holocaust survivor and ours as a people and a nation. We will never forget," he said.

The survivors will join him and Scholz on a visit to Wannsee in Berlin where high-ranking Nazis met in 1942 to plan the mass murder of the Jews.

lo/kb (AFP, dpa)