Israeli PM in Germany to discuss Iran nuclear deal
Berlin, Sep 12: Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid arrived in Germany on Sunday as part of a push to persuade Western powers to stop efforts to revive a nuclear agreement with Iran.
Lapid is scheduled to meet German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock on Monday.
On Saturday, Germany, France and the UK raised concerns about Iran's commitment to revive the 2015 nuclear deal.
Speaking at a cabinet meeting ahead of his flight Lapid thanked the three countries for their "strong position."
Iran nuclear deal hangs in the balance
Israel has long opposed the deal believing it won't stop Iran from becoming a nuclear state.
The 2015 agreement, known formally as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), gave Iran sanctions relief in return for restricting its nuclear program.
Former US President Donald Trump withdrew from the deal in 2018 and reimposed sanctions against Iran, but negotiations underway in Vienna since April 2021 have sought to restore the agreement.
Lapid told his cabinet that "Israel is conducting a successful diplomatic drive to halt the nuclear deal and prevent the lifting of sanctions on Iran," and added, "It's not over yet. The road is long. But there are encouraging signs."
Iran earlier this month said it submitted its latest response to the European Union's proposed text to revive the deal.
Iran did not disclose its response, but US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said yesterday that Iran's latest reply was a step "backwards."
Lapid, Scholz in Holocaust survivors to visit Wannsee
The Israeli leader also brought several Holocaust survivors with him on the trip.
I just landed in Berlin for a diplomatic visit. With me are Holocaust survivors Pnina, Avraham, Shoshana, Yisrael, & Zvi.— יאיר לפיד - Yair Lapid (@yairlapid) September 11, 2022
As we all stepped off the plane, a German military honor guard welcomed the survivors and their family members.
This is their victory.
📸 Kobi Gideon/GPO pic.twitter.com/5ubgC76cSa
"As we stepped off the plane together and onto German soil, we were welcomed by a German military honour guard," Lapid said after arriving on Sunday evening.
"This is their victory, mine as the son of a Holocaust survivor and ours as a people and a nation. We will never forget," he said.
The survivors will join him and Scholz on a visit to Wannsee in Berlin where high-ranking Nazis met in 1942 to plan the mass murder of the Jews.