Lapid and French President Macron discusses Iran nuclear talks, Israel’s demand to ‘put pressure on Iran’

January 10, 2022 by Aryeh Savir - TPS
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Israel’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Yair Lapid held “a long conversation” on Saturday night with French President Emmanuel Macron on the “regional challenges, the nuclear talks and Israel’s demand to put pressure on Iran, and relations between Israel and the European Union.”

Minister of Foreign Affairs Yair Lapid (R) and the President of France Emmanuel Macron. (Quentin Crestinu)

According to a statement by Israel’s Foreign Ministry, Lapid congratulated Macron on France’s assumption of the Presidency of the Council of the European Union, and “emphasized the importance of strengthening the relationship between Israel and the EU” and the convening of the Association Council.

The Association Council provides for and aims to ensure political dialogue between Israel and the EU. It has not convened in recent years.

Macron “reiterated his commitment to the security of Israel and emphasized the importance he places on the warm relationship between Israel and France,” the Israeli statement.

France, together with Britain, China, Germany and Russia, and the US indirectly, are engaged in talks with Iran on the renewal of the 2015 nuclear deal, which the US left in 2018.

France’s Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian told BFM TV and RMC Radio in Friday that he is “convinced we can reach a deal. Bits of progress have been made in the last few days. We have been heading in a positive direction in the last few days, but time is of the essence, because if we don’t get an accord quickly there will be nothing to negotiate.”

Their conversation comes following Lapid’s visit to Paris a month and a half ago.

Israel fears that the Western powers will reengage Iran in a deal that enables it to eventually develop a nuclear bomb while removing sanctions on the country and thawing Tehran’s assets, enabling it to boost its global terror network.

In Paris six weeks ago, Lapid reiterated the Israeli position that Iran is trying to buy time while moving forward with its nuclear program, and on the immediate need for the strengthening of sanctions by the powers, and the urgent need for a “Plan B,” presumably a military option if the diplomatic channel currently being pursued fails.

“Sanctions on Iran must not be lifted. Sanctions need to be tightened, there needs to be a credible military threat on Iran, because only this will prevent it from continuing its race towards a nuclear weapon. That race did not stop here, and it did not stop with the talks in Vienna,” he stated.

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