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Netanyahu warns Biden: No return to Iran nuclear deal

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Israeli prim minister Benjamin Netanyahu visits the Ben-Gurion airport near Tel Aviv on November 9, 2020. (Photo by Reuters)

Israel’s hawkish prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu has warned the incoming US administration against returning to the 2015 nuclear agreement with Iran, which President-elect Joe Biden has indicated to do after taking office.  

“There must be no return to the previous nuclear agreement,” Netanyahu said Sunday.

He claimed that there is a “military” aspect to Tehran’s nuclear energy program. “We must stick to an uncompromising policy to ensure that Iran does not develop nuclear weapons," Netanyahu said.

Iran's nuclear program has been subject to the most intensive inspections ever in the world, and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has repeatedly verified the peaceful nature of the activities.

Meanwhile, the Islamic Republic has clearly distanced itself from pursuing non-conventional weapons based on religious and humanitarian beliefs. According to a fatwa issued by Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei,  acquisition of nuclear weapons is haram or forbidden in Islam.

Under Netanyahu, Israel actively tried but failed to prevent the former US administration of president Barack Obama from joining the nuclear agreement with Iran.

His successor Donald Trump, however, took the US out of the deal in 2018 and unleashed the most draconian wave of sanctions against Iran.

Washington refused to suspend the bans even on vital items such as food, medicine, and plane parts despite the outbreak of the new coronavirus pandemic and an international legal order for the US to freeze the coercive measures.

Israeli media outlets said Netanyahu’s remarks were clearly addressed at Biden, who has signaled to return to the nuclear accord.

Many inside Israel believe Netanyahu's policy of playing hardball against Iran is a tactic to deflect attention from his current political problems.

The Israeli premier is facing probe over several corruption cases and frequent protests which have drawn tens of thousands of people to the streets to also denounce his mishandling of the coronavirus pandemic.

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