Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid excoriated EU foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell, over his visit to Tehran over the weekend, where he announced the resumption of negotiations with Iran on a nuclear deal, Politico reported on Sunday.
Borrell had notified Lapid of his plans prior to flying to Tehran, the report said. Lapid was reportedly furious, accusing Borrell of ignoring the Iranian attempts to murder Israelis in Turkey as well as the International Atomic Energy Agency’s condemnation of Iran’s uranium enrichment activities and its removal of 27 surveillance cameras from nuclear sites in the country. Lapid warned Borrell that Iran is feigning a willingness to engage in negotiations with the West while continuing to advance its nuclear program.
“This is a strategic mistake that sends the wrong message to Iran,” Lapid said, according to a diplomatic source quoted by Politico. “Talking about the great potential in the Iranian context, while Iran is trying to murder Israeli citizens throughout the world and especially in Turkey, indicates a worrying disregard for the lives of Israeli citizens.”
According to the report, Lapid’s criticism is viewed by the EU as part of Israel’s efforts to sabotage the nuclear negotiations. An EU official defended Borrell’s actions, saying that he traveled to Tehran as “the neutral coordinator of negotiations” and that he secured the agreements of Iran to resume “proximity talks” with US negotiators in the coming days.
Additionally, an EU official said that Borrell mentioned in his comments after the meeting in Tehran that he “discussed” the plots to murder Israelis in Turkey with the Iranians.
The official acknowledged that “there are extremely concerning issues,” such as Iran’s detention of EU citizens, but Borrell had “mentioned” those concerns, including Israel’s security, with Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian. Additionally, Borrell believes that a nuclear deal will be “beneficial” for global stability and “good” for the Middle East, including Israel.
In his comments to the media following the meeting in Tehran, Borrell said that allowing Iran to reintegrate into the global economy will help ameliorate the rise in the prices of oil and natural gas caused by the war in Ukraine.
“This war is going to jeopardize a lot of things — it is creating price increases on energy and food,” Borrell said. “In many countries, mainly in Africa, this will create social unrest. So, the more supply of oil, the better for the energy prices. In order to fight against price increases, you have to increase the supply.”
“So, the deal would be good from the point of view of crisis stabilization on energy. It would be good from the point of view of increasing security. It will be good from the point of view of Iran becoming a member of the international community, more active, participating in trade,” Borrell asserted, saying that the war has made rentering the nuclear deal “more necessary.”
“To summarize,” he said. “The negotiations were stalled — no prospects of restarting — and thanks to these discussions, in the coming days they will start again, with close contacts between the United States and the Iranians.”
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)