Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told supporters he would “stand against the entire world” to stop the Iran nuclear deal.
Netanyahu’s comments were a change for the prime minister, who had been careful in discussing the nuclear pact. The remarks also indirectly criticized President Joe Biden, who campaigned on rejoining the deal originally signed by former President Barack Obama.
Former President Donald Trump withdrew the U.S. from the nuclear deal in 2018 claiming it failed to lessen Iran’s missile program and regional influence.
Netanyahu’s latest comments were an attempt to rally his base ahead of Israel’s election on March 23, Axios reported Thursday.
The Biden administration recently said it was open to restarting discussions with European countries and Iran to begin the process of rejoining the agreement. However, Iran rejected a preliminary offer to revive talks.
“The international reality has changed,” said Netanyahu, undoubtedly referring to Biden having replaced Trump. “There is an intention to go back to this dangerous deal. I am the only one who will stand against the entire world.”
After saying Iran aimed to develop nuclear weapons to destroy Israel, Netanyahu asked, “Who will defend you from annihilation? I will not hesitate to do anything against whatever threatens our country.”
Less than two weeks earlier, Netanyahu and Israel’s top national security officials agreed to avoid a public disagreement with the Biden administration. They instead decided to focus on holding strategic consultations with the White House on the Iranian nuclear issue.
Also Thursday, Axios reported that France, Germany and the United Kingdom have backed off a plan to censure Iran for not cooperating with the International Atomic Energy Agency.
After the plan to censure had emerged, Iran reacted angrily and rejected a proposal for nuclear talks.
Following the announcement by the European allies, IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi announced Iran had agreed for the first time to discuss the suspicious uranium particles with the IAEA.
There was no indication if Iran will agree to the U.S. proposal for informal talks among the nuclear deal’s signatories.
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