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Israeli minister threatens Iran to stymie talks in Vienna to remove US sanctions

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 minister Eli Cohen (File photo by Jewish Press)

An Israeli minister has warned that the regime’s warplanes can reach Iran, reiterating Israel’s position that it does not consider itself bound by the diplomacy pursued through the Vienna talks to restore the Iran nuclear agreement by bringing all signatories, the US in particular, into full compliance with the deal.

“Anyone seeking short-term benefits should be mindful of the longer-term,” Reuters on Thursday quoted Eli Cohen as saying, in a veiled reference to the Biden administration’s promise to re-enter the deal.

“Israel will not allow Iran to attain nuclear arms,” he claimed. “Iran has no immunity anywhere. Our planes can reach everywhere in the Middle East – and certainly Iran.”

Israel has already threatened to attack Iran if the United States returns to the nuclear agreement, also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), which former US president Donald Trump abandoned to pursue a hostile Iran policy, which was backed by the Israeli regime.

However, observers believe that most of such threats are mere bluffs and that Israel will never have the military might or courage to attack Iran without US support.

Iran has repeatedly maintained that its nuclear program is peaceful. Tehran signed the JCPOA and agreed to restrict its nuclear work so as to prove to the world that its nuclear activities do not pose any threat to other nations.

“A bad deal will send the region spiraling into war,” Cohen claimed, echoing Israel’s stance on the JCPOA.

Talks are ongoing in Vienna between Iran and the remaining parties to the JCPOA – Russia, China, France, Britain and Germany – to secure a US return to the deal followed by Iran’s return to all of its nuclear obligations under the deal.

Iran scaled down its nuclear undertakings in response to the US withdrawal, saying it will reverse its nuclear measures after the US fulfills all of its JCPOA commitments, including, first and foremost, the removal of all the sanctions it imposed in open violation of the deal.

US President Joe Biden had promised to rejoin the JCPOA during his presidential run. Since Biden’s victory against Trump, the Israeli regime has been involved in acts of sabotage and assassination in Iran.

In November, Iran’s top nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh was assassinated. Earlier this month, nuclear enrichment facility in Natanz was targeted in an act of sabotage. Both incidents, among many others, have been blamed on the regime in Tel Aviv.

Israel also sent a high-profile delegation to Washington this week to discuss Iran and the US return to the JCPOA with American officials, in a move compared to the Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s visit to Washington in 2015 to put a stop to the formation of the nuclear pact.

On Thursday, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken met the head of Israel’s Mossad spy agency Joseph Cohen and Israeli ambassador to Washington Gilad Erdan. During the meeting, the Israeli officials expressed “deep concern” about Iran’s nuclear activities.

It came after a meeting this week between US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan and his Israeli counterpart. At that meeting the Israeli delegation stressed their “freedom to operate” against Iran as they see fit, Reuters reported, citing a person familiar with the matter.

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