New Israel PM Lapid Tells France’s Macron ‘World Must Respond’ to Iran

Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid on Tuesday told French President Emmanuel Macron the "world must respond" to Iran's malign nuclear activities, in the new Israeli premier's first diplomatic visit since the Knesset dispersed in a dramatic showdown last week.
Amos Ben-Gershom (GPO)

Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid on Tuesday told French President Emmanuel Macron the “world must respond” to Iran’s malign nuclear activities, in the new Israeli premier’s first diplomatic visit since the Knesset dispersed in a dramatic showdown last week.

“Back in 2018 you were the first world leader to talk about the need for a new deal with Iran,” Lapid said alongside the French leader in front of the Elysee presidential palace.

“You were right then, and you are even more right today,” Lapid said, adding: “The current situation cannot continue as it is. It will lead to a nuclear arms race in the Middle East, which would threaten world peace.”

Recent efforts by world powers to revive the tattered Obama-led 2015 nuclear deal have failed.

Macron was more tempered in his remarks to Lapid, saying he still stood by the deal.

“I would like to remind you once again of our desire to conclude the negotiations on a return to respect for the JCPOA as soon as possible,” Macron said.

Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid told French President Emmanuel Macron the world must act against Iran

Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid told French President Emmanuel Macron the world must act against Iran (Amos Ben-Gershom/GPO)

“We agree with Israel that this agreement will not be enough to contain Iran’s destabilising activities, but I remain more convinced than ever that an Iran that would be on the threshold of nuclear (power) could carry out its activities in an even more dangerous way,” he added. “We must therefore defend this agreement.”

Washington’s Iran envoy Robert Malley told NPR radio in an interview on Wednesday the U.S. and its European partners in the deal were “alarmed” at Iran’s galloping rate toward nuclearization.

“They’re much closer to having fissile material for a bomb,” Malley warned. “To our knowledge, they have not resumed their weaponization program, which is what they would need to develop the bomb. But we are of course alarmed, as are our partners, at the progress they’ve made in the enrichment field.”

“At some point, the deal will be a thing of the past,” he added.

France's President Emmanuel Macron (L) welcomes Israel's Prime minister Yaïr Lapid ahead of their meeting at the Elysee palace in Paris, on July 5, 2022. (Photo by Ludovic MARIN / AFP) (Photo by LUDOVIC MARIN/AFP via Getty Images)

France’s President Emmanuel Macron (L) and Israel’s Prime Minister Yaïr Lapid embrace ahead of their meeting at the Elysee Palace in Paris, on July 5, 2022. (Amos Ben-Gershom/GPO)

Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz said on Tuesday that Iranian warships patrolling the Red Sea marked the most “significant” maritime activity on Iran’s part in over a decade, and warned that it was threatening global stability.

“Today, we can confirm that Iran is methodically basing itself in the Red Sea, with warships patrolling the southern region,” Gantz said at a roundtable event in Athens.

“In recent months, we have identified the most significant Iranian military presence in the area in the past decade. It is a direct threat to trade, energy and the global economy,” he said. “It is also a direct threat to peace and stability in the maritime arena, which may affect the Mediterranean and beyond.”

He also addressed last week’s satellite launcher from Iran’s Semnan province. “This test demonstrates that the Iranian regime has the capabilities to develop intercontinental ballistic missiles that may reach as far as the center of Europe. This is in addition to operational ballistic systems and UAVs that can already reach the Eastern Mediterranean,” he said.

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