Israel in 'last-minute' diplomatic push to halt Iran nuclear deal
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A day after US officials said they would soon give their opinion on Iran's response to a "final" text on reviving the landmark 2015 deal, Israel warned Wednesday of the consequences of going back to the accord.
His successor Joe Biden has sought to return to the agreement, and after a year and a half of talks, recent progress has put the Jewish state on edge.
The money would be used by Iran-backed militant groups Hamas, Hezbollah and Islamic Jihad to "undermine stability in the Middle East and spread terror around the globe," he said.
Lapid said he had spoken in recent days with the leadership of Britain, France and Germany, to reaffirm his country's opposition.
"I told them these negotiations have reached the point where they must stop and say 'enough'," he said.
- Lebanon talks -
Tehran has also relaxed its insistence on a key sticking point -- that Washington remove its powerful Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps from a terrorism blacklist.
Lapid on Wednesday rebuffed such developments.
A senior Israeli official at the prime minister's briefing said the draft text does not stipulate the destruction of centrifuges used to enrich uranium, allowing Iran to "restart" them at any time.
Progress in the Iranian negotiations comes as Biden prepares for the midterm elections in November, the same month Israelis go to the polls.
Israeli officials are concerned any sanctions relief offered to Iran could see the Islamic republic boost funds to its regional allies, including Hezbollah in Lebanon.
The US-backed talks on demarcating the maritime border could pave the way for the exploitation of gas fields on both sides of the frontier.
A senior Israeli official on Wednesday told AFP there was no contradiction over engaging in talks with Lebanon, where Hezbollah is a powerful force, while opposing those with Iran in part due to its ties with the group.
Israel supports the possibility of foreign firms exploiting offshore reserves for Lebanon, providing a way out of Beirut's economic crisis, but the official did not foresee gas revenues reaching Hezbollah.
"I see no reason for having any confrontation with Hezbollah on this," the official said.