UK and Israel in Strategic Partnership

In a joint article published by the Telegraph on Sunday, the foreign ministers of the UK and Israel stated that the two countries will work ‘night and day’ to stop Iran getting a nuclear weapon.

Liz Truss and Yair Lapid went on to write that ‘the clock is ticking, which heightens the need for close cooperation with our partners and friends to thwart Tehran’s ambitions.’

They also said that Israel will officially become the UK’s ‘tier one’ partner in cyber security as the intensity of cyber-attacks increases around the world. Israel is widely acknowledged as one of the leading nations in cyber security.

The intentions expressed in the article were confirmed on Monday afternoon when Neil Wigan, the UK’s Ambassador to Israel, tweeted a picture of the signing of a new Strategic Partnership between the two countries.

Tweet by Neil Wigan

That move comes as talks between Iran and five other nations resume in Vienna seeking to prevent the collapse of a nuclear deal. They are discussing a possible return of the US to the 2015 agreement which limited Iran`s nuclear activities in return for the lifting of sanctions.

This effort is being made despite Iran violating key commitments since the US withdrew from the agreement in 2018 and restored the sanctions.

Joe Biden’s administration seems to be willing to lift the sanctions again if Iran reverses those violations of the agreement. But Iran has repeatedly made it clear that it wants the sanctions lifted first.

Israel is keen to see the sanctions on Iran’s banking sector continue, as they believe that sector helps fund many of Iran’s proxies and partners in the region, such as Hezbollah and Hamas.

The Israelis are also increasingly concerned about the US approach to the negotiations, in which they appear to be open to an interim arrangement in which Iran will temporarily freeze uranium enrichment in exchange for some sanctions being lifted.

The concern is that the money released to Iran will be invested in the development of nuclear warheads and the missiles to carry them, as well as increasing Iranian military activity in Syria, Lebanon and Gaza.

To some observers, the negotiations seem doomed to failure. Iranian leaders have repeatedly declared their intention to wipe Israel off the face of the map.

That desire was repeated on Saturday by the spokesman for Iran’s armed forces, Brigadier-General Abolfazl Shekarchi, who urged the elimination of the Jewish state during an interview. He told the Iranian Students News Agency:

“We will not back off from the annihilation of Israel, even one millimetre.
We want to destroy Zionism in the world.”