Lithuanian FM Says Israelis Changed His Mind on Iran Nuclear Deal

YERUSHALAYIM -

State visits are generally carefully scripted affairs for public consumption; whatever surprises occur are usually kept private.

But Lithuania’s foreign minister Linas Linkevičius told The Times of Israel that his talks with Israeli officials in Yerushalayim on Monday actually changed his mind about the nuclear deal with Iran.

On Monday, Linkevičius called for stronger cooperation between Yerushalayim and the European Union in reining in that country’s nuclear ambitions.

“I told [my Israeli interlocutors] that many think the Iranian deal is a way to mitigate the problem [of Iran’s nuclear ambitions] through engagement, but here I heard a lot of criticism of the Iranian deal. We need to put all the arguments on the table and to look at them very carefully. Otherwise it would be very difficult to find a common approach,” he said.

“For me it was a bit new to hear about holes in the agreement, doubts about the implementation, doubts about [Iran] continuing the nuclear program regardless of what was agreed.”

“I heard about [Iran] from the prime minister and analysts, from many sources, and I believe it should be addressed,” he said.

“This is something that should be addressed by us if we can have a decent dialogue. But dialogue does not exist so far. So far there’s nothing between Israel and the European Union, and that’s not good… We can disagree, we can agree, but we have to talk. So far we’re just making statements, and that doesn’t help.”

The Lithuanian foreign minister denounced Iran’s calls for Israel’s destruction, saying he could “share the position” of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who maintains that full relations with the regime could only be established after it recognized Israel’s right to exist in security.