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OCCUPIED JERUSALEM: Germany’s Olaf Scholz said Wednesday that a new Iran nuclear agreement “cannot be postponed any longer”, during his first visit as chancellor to Israel, which staunchly opposes efforts to forge a deal with Tehran.

Scholz’s visit, which included a ceremony at Jerusalem’s Holocaust memorial Yad Vashem accompanied by Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, comes amid the geopolitical turmoil sparked by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The two heads of government — both relatively new to office following many years when their countries were ruled by veterans Angela Merkel and Benjamin Netanyahu — met as rapidly moving world events test their leadership.

Policy differences on Iran, long Israel’s arch foe, surfaced at a Jerusalem joint press conference, with Scholz saying Germany “would like to see an agreement reached in Vienna”.

The latest round of negotiations to salvage Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal started in late November in the Austrian capital and the talks are expected to reach a crunch point in the coming days.

The so-called Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) secured sanctions relief for Iran in return for strict curbs on its nuclear programme to prevent it acquiring an atomic weapon, a goal Iran has always denied pursuing.

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