Israel says it will not be bound by any new Iran deal

  • Market: Crude oil
  • 01/10/22

Israel will not be bound by any future nuclear deal with Iran and will remain free to act in any way it feels necessary if threatened by its regional foe, prime minister Naftali Bennett said today.

Negotiations to revive the 2015 Iran nuclear deal — known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) — resumed in Vienna, Austria, on 3 December. The US state department said last week that "modest progress" had been made and that it hoped all sides could build on this week.

"Regarding the nuclear talks in Vienna, we are certainly concerned," Bennett said. "Iran is the head of an octopus that constantly threatens Israel at all its borders via its proxies and its tentacles."

"It is important for me to say here, clearly and unequivocally that Israel is not a party to the agreements. And if they are signed, Israel will not be bound to what will be written in the agreements. Israel will maintain unlimited and unrestricted freedom of action everywhere and at all times."

Tel Aviv has long been one of the biggest opponents of the JCPOA. Like former US President Donald Trump, who took the decision to pull the US out of the deal in 2018, the Israeli government argued that the agreement fell short of delivering its intended aim of stopping Tehran from acquiring a nuclear weapon.

US president Joe Biden said he intends on re-entering the JCPOA so long as Tehran also scales back its nuclear activities to a point where it is back in compliance with its own commitments under the deal. But US officials remain concerned that Iran's progress in its nuclear programme since 2019 has brought Tehran closer to a theoretical threshold of having enough enriched uranium for a functional nuclear weapon, stressing that time is of the essence when it comes to the negotiations.

The negotiations between Iran and the US in Vienna are being conducted through intermediaries since the talks to revive the JCPOA restarted under Biden in April.

Iran's foreign ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said today that Iran too is keen for the discussions to progress at a faster pace, but only if it were to result in a "stable and reliable agreement". "There has been much talk about the pace of the Vienna talks," Khatibzadeh said. "The pace of the talks is also important for us. But the other side cannot move like a turtle and expect us to move at the speed of light."

"We seek a stable and reliable agreement," he said. "Any agreement without these two components is not of interest."

A restoration of the JCPOA in its original form could add up to 1.4mn b/d of Iranian crude to global supply. Iran's foreign minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said late last month that any breakthrough in the negotiations would need to include guarantees that Tehran will be able to sell its oil and repatriate its revenues freely. Argus estimates that Iran's crude output averaged around 2.45mn b/d in the second half of 2021, well below the 3.8mn b/d produced in early 2018 before the reimposition of US sanctions.


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