Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid arrived in Germany on Sunday as part of a campaign to persuade Western powers to end efforts to revive a nuclear deal with Iran.
Lapid is due to meet German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock on Monday.
On Saturday, Germany, France and the United Kingdom raised concerns over Iran’s commitment to reviving the 2015 nuclear deal.
Speaking at a cabinet meeting before his flight, Lapid thanked the three countries for their “position of strength”.
The Iran nuclear deal is in play
Israel has long opposed the deal, believing it will not prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear state.
The 2015 agreement, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), granted sanctions relief to Iran in return for curtailing its nuclear program.
Former US President Donald Trump pulled out of the deal in 2018 and reimposed sanctions on Iran, but ongoing talks in Vienna since April 2021 have sought to reinstate the deal.
Lapid told his cabinet that “Israel is waging a successful diplomatic campaign to end the nuclear deal and prevent the lifting of sanctions against Iran,” and added, “It’s not over yet. The road is long. But there are encouraging signs.”
Iran said earlier this month it had submitted its latest response to the European Union’s proposed text to revive the deal.
Iran has not disclosed its response, but US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said yesterday that Iran’s latest response was a step backwards.
Lapid, Scholz in Holocaust Survivors in Wannsee
The Israeli leader also brought several Holocaust survivors with him on his trip.
“As we got off the plane together and made our way to German soil, we were greeted by a German military honor 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 Berlin’s Wannsee where high-ranking Nazis met in 1942 to plan the mass murder of Jews.
lo/kb (AFP, dpa)