Israel watches with suspicion and resignation the reactivation of the nuclear agreement with Iran | International
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The European Union sees the nuclear agreement with Iran as close and hopes to reactivate it after 16 months of negotiations. Brussels considers “reasonable” the response given to the final text by Tehran, where the leaders of the Islamic regime show restrained optimism, while the United States has been officially silent since Tuesday, waiting to present a definitive evaluation. And the regional archenemy, Israel, which sees the development of the Iranian atomic program as an existential threat, is already observing with mixed feelings of suspicion and resignation the progress of the talks towards the reissue of the pact, which has languished for four years after the door was slammed. by the then US president, Donald Trump, to unilaterally disassociate his country.
In essence, the pact reached with the mediation of the EU by Iran in 2015 with the great powers (USA, Russia, China, France, Germany and the United Kingdom) offers the lifting of sanctions on the Islamic Republic in exchange for bring its nuclear program under control to prevent it from being equipped with an atomic weapon. Israel fears above all that Tehran will renege on commitments and continue to rapidly enrich uranium while equipping itself with missiles to carry nuclear warheads.
“Israel notes the progress in the talks and realizes that the ball is no longer in its court,” acknowledges former General Tamir Hayman, who was head of the Directorate of Military Intelligence between 2018 and 2021. “The official position of the Government it is contrary to the nuclear agreement”, specifies the current deputy director of the National Institute for Security Studies in an exchange of messages, “but lately it has been reported that high command of the Armed Forces, including the current head of the Directorate of Military Intelligence , have expressed themselves in favor of the agreement”.
The decision is in the hands of President Joe Biden, in Washington, and the supreme leader of the revolution, Ali Khamenei. “Each possible option is problematic for Israel, where both the government and public opinion seem to prefer a reality without an agreement to a bad agreement,” summarizes former General Ayman.
Among the political class, views on the Iran nuclear deal are generally stronger. Yossi Shain, a professor of political science at Tel Aviv University and a deputy for the conservative Israel Our House party, maintains that “there is no reason to trust the Iranians, who only want to buy time with the talks and advance their program of atomic weapons”.
“Contrary to what some voices behind the curtain maintain, we are not resigned to the idea that the agreement is inevitable,” he details in a telephone conversation. “I am not aware that the JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action) is already considered a lesser evil by the Government, the Armed Forces, or the intelligence services” .
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However, the Mossad, the Israeli foreign espionage agency, already handles the working hypothesis that the signatory powers reach a pact with Iran, according to analyst Ben Caspit. “The Mossad continues to assume that an agreement will finally be reached because the Americans, the Iranians and the Europeans need it,” he argues in one of his last columns in the digital magazine to Monitor. Israeli espionage now focuses its activity on “obtaining information about Iran’s intentions to ensure that it is not preparing to equip itself with a nuclear weapon,” argues Caspit, citing unnamed diplomatic and intelligence sources.
“Like good bazaar merchants, the Iranians have not now presented a final offer (to the EU) and have left fringes pending, as they have been doing for the last year and a half”, expresses former general Yossi Kuperwasser, former director general of the Ministry of Strategic Affairs and former head of the Military Intelligence Directorate.
He underlines that Tehran continues to insist that the US remove the Revolutionary Guard from its list of terrorist organizations, as well as that the investigation by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) into the discovery of uranium in undeclared nuclear facilities be closed. “And they reiterate the demand for guarantees that Washington will not disassociate itself from the pact in the future,” says Kuperwasser, current head of projects at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, in statements made at the Jerusalem Press Club.
He also considers that at this time Iran is in a position to produce in the short term – “between a few weeks and a couple of months”, he specifies -, after a brief period of greater uranium enrichment, about four nuclear devices. Although he acknowledges that they would still have to be converted into bombs capable of being inserted into the warhead of a missile. “If the Americans accept the Iranian demands, a total collapse may occur,” anticipates former general Kuperwasser in an apocalyptic key.
“I think the nuclear deal with Iran is a lesser evil,” recapitulates Hayman, another former general chief of the intelligence services. “But provided the following conditions are met: Iran must reduce the quantity and quality of enriched uranium; it has to dismantle the most advanced centrifuges (to enrich nuclear material), and ensure supervision of all its nuclear facilities, including those recently opened underground”. From his point of view, the red line for Israel is at the 90% mark for Iranian uranium enrichment. “If that scenario occurs, Israel should attack Iran with the support of the United States,” concludes his expert opinion on the evolution of Tehran’s atomic program.
The open secret of the Israeli nuclear weapon
At a rally last week at the Israel Atomic Energy Commission, Prime Minister Yair Lapid came close to revealing an open secret. “We have both defensive and offensive (military) capabilities and, in addition, what some foreign media usually call ‘other capabilities,'” said the head of government, to imply that the Jewish state has had atomic weapons for decades. “These other capabilities keep us alive and will continue to do so as long as our children are here,” Lapid added.
The head of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, General Hossein Salami, limited himself to replying shortly after that there are “more than 100,000 missiles ready to be fired at Israel from Lebanon” in case a conflict breaks out. The Israeli army acknowledges that the Shiite militia Hezbollah, a close ally of Iran, has tens of thousands of rockets in its arsenal, although only a few hundred can be considered precision-guided missiles.
Israeli political sources quoted by the daily Ha’aretz They have admitted that Iran has already begun preparing their opinion for a revival of the nuclear pact. “We are seeing that it is getting closer to the agreement,” said the same sources. In light of the significant gaps that remain between the parties, Israel anticipates that either Washington or Tehran will have to compromise on the IAEA investigation and compliance guarantees if they want to close an understanding. But, above all, he considers that the current agreement is bad and the signing of its reactivation entails dangers. This is how Prime Minister Lapid sent it to high-ranking diplomatic and parliamentary officials in the United States on Thursday afternoon and, in a telephone conversation, to German Chancellor Olaf Scholz.
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