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UK minister: Israel wants ‘permanent standoff’ with Iran

LONDON (AP) — Britain’s foreign secretary said Wednesday that Israel wants a “permanent standoff” with Iran and suggests it wouldn’t have welcomed any kind of nuclear deal.

Philip Hammond told Parliament that Israel “doesn’t want any deal with Iran.” He was responding to opposition lawmaker Ian Austin, who criticized the deal struck between Iran and the West aimed at keeping Tehran from building a nuclear bomb. Austin said the agreement “utterly dismayed” Israel.

Hammond replied: “I think the question you have to ask yourself is what kind of a deal would have been welcomed in Tel Aviv.” He added: “Israel wants a permanent state of standoff and I don’t believe that’s in the interests of the region, I don’t believe it’s in our interest.”

Hammond said he is traveling to Israel later Wednesday and will meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Thursday to urge him to take a more pragmatic approach.

“He has made clear that he intends to fight it all the way and that Israel will seek to use its influence in the U.S. Congress to obstruct the progress of the deal,” Hammond said. “I am confident that that action will not succeed. I am also confident that Israel has shown time and again that it can be pragmatic.”

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