Senior Israeli security officials in Israel are supportive of President Biden’s attempts to return to the Iran Deal to block Iran’s path to a nuclear weapon, Al-Monitor journalist Ben Caspit reported Tuesday. Speaking on background, sources told Caspit that restoring the JCPOA is “currently the best option available,” though they were hesitant to go on record for fear of political retribution from right-wing Israeli leaders.
“The US withdrawal from the agreement [in 2018] prompted Iran to move ahead with research and development by operating advanced centrifuges and amassing fissile material and extensive knowledge,” an Israeli security source told Caspit.
“Everything they were expected to do after the so-called sunset clause has already been done, and therefore we’re talking about horses that have already bolted. Right now, there is no better alternative than the renewed agreement in order to freeze the Iranian nuclear program and roll it back,” the source said.
In January, IDF’s current intelligence chief, Maj.-Gen. Aharon Haliva, reportedly told the Israeli cabinet that a nuclear agreement with Iran is preferable to no deal at all.
Since the deal was reached in 2015, a range of often retired, senior Israeli security experts have praised the success of the Iran Deal and slammed the failure of Trump’s withdrawal and “maximum pressure” approach.
Danny Citrinowicz, former Chief of Israeli Military Intelligence’s Iran branch, praised the JCPOA for “roll[ing] back the Iran nuclear program significantly.” Tamir Pardo, former Director of Mossad, called the US’s abandonment of the deal a “strategic mistake.” Former Prime Minister, Ehud Barak, called Trump’s withdrawal “a delusional decision that allowed the Iranians to move forward quickly in the direction of becoming a nuclear threshold state.”
Israeli officials assess the increased sanctions and a no-deal scenario as a failure, Caspit reported, with intelligence indicating that following Trump’s withdrawal from the deal Iran now has improved missile capabilities and increased its destabilizing interventions in the region. Officials fear that without a deal in place, Iran will move closer to obtaining a nuclear weapon, putting pressure on the Israeli establishment to accelerate military buildup to counter the threat.