Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid and former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have rebuked each other after their Monday meeting over the Iran nuclear deal.
The two leaders held a meeting Monday evening at the prime minister's office to discuss the restoration of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), and the talks between Iran and world powers which appeared to have advanced in the past week.
After the briefing with Lapid,opposition leader and Likud Party head Benjamin Netanyahu said he was "more concerned about Iran” than before the meeting. He accused Lapid and Defense Minister Benny Gantz of failing to prevent a “disastrous Iran nuclear deal” and wasting time by not campaigning in the United States against The Islamic Republic.
“I have a clear message for the ayatollahs in Tehran: On November 1, we’ll bring strong and decisive leadership to Israel that will ensure that with or without a deal, they will never have nuclear weapons,” Netanyahu said, referring to Israel’s upcoming parliamentary elections.
Lapid’s Yesh Atid party also attacked Netanyahu in a tweet, accusing him of endangering the security of Israeli citizens. “While Netanyahu continues to produce and direct tone-deaf videos, the Israeli government led by Lapid will do everything to guard national security interests,” the party said in its tweet Monday evening.
The Prime Minister, however, said in a statement that he doesn't want a feud with Netanyahu over Israel’s positioning vis-a-vis the prospect of a restored Iran nuclear deal.
“There is great importance in a united Israeli stance against the Iranian effort to obtain a nuclear weapon. I call on the opposition leader and everyone not to let political considerations harm our national security,” Lapid said in a statement.
The two Israeli leaders had exchanged barbs before the Monday briefing.
In a statement before his meeting with the Prime Minister, Netanyahu had accused Lapid and Ganz of falling asleep on the watch and letting Iran "finalize a deal which jeopardizes our future…Lapid and Gantz' incompetence will be remembered in history as the Iranian nuclear fiasco.”
Responding to Netanyahu’s accusations, Lapid had said all Netanyahu had done when he was prime minister was giving press conferences and presentations. “The damage he caused during his tenure to Israel's two most important strategic issues — the fight against the Iran nuclear weapon and relations with the US — is serious and deep and we are still repairing it,” he said.
Iranian officials have not commented on the argument between Israeli leaders but in a press conference Sunday, President Ebrahim Raisi dismissed Israeli threats against Iran and referring to theassassination of Iran's nuclear scientists said no matter what Israel does, it cannot stop Iran and deprive the Iranian nation of "its inalienable right to access peaceful nuclear technology”. He also insisted that the Islamic Republic is not pursuing nuclear weapons.
The IRGC-linked Fars news agency on Sunday said analysts in Tehran believe that Israel and the United States are strategic partners and Tel Aviv's positions on the Vienna talks plays a complementary role to Washington's policy.
"Whenever the US is in trouble in negotiations with Iran and has failed to fulfil its purpose, the Zionist regime steps onto the scene to play a complementary role," senior analyst Seyed Mostafa Khoshchesm told Fars. “"The Israeli regime plays the role of a bad cop and conducts terror operations, cyber and sabotage attacks against Iran to serve the US interests," he said.