Jerusalem: Israel on Tuesday expressed the possibility that it will not talk to US President Joe Biden about the Iranian nuclear program’s strategy if it returns to a 2015 agreement with Tehran.
The remarks by Israel’s envoy to Washington come at a touching point for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. He will be re-elected next month, and he has revived problematic rhetoric about Iran while still having no direct communication with Biden.
The new government has said it wants a return to the 2015 nuclear deal in the US – which suspended former President Donald Trump and restored sanctions against Tehran – if the Iranians commit their own commitments again. Washington has also said it wants to consult with allies in the Middle East on such steps.
“We will not be able to be part of such a process if the new government returns to the agreement,” Ambassador Gilad Erdan told Israel’s Army Radio.
Supporters of Netanyahu have privately questioned whether the collaboration with US counterparts might backfire on Israel by falsely giving its consent to any new agreement it still opposes.
Israel was not a party to the 2015 agreement. However, it has strong proponents within the US Congress. Netanyahu’s threats to take unilateral military action against Iran if diplomacy is considered a dead-end is also an effective power plan.
“We think that if the United States is going to get the same deal that they have already withdrawn from, all of its leverage will be lost,” Erdan said.
“In essence, at the moment it removes the sanctions, the Iranians will have no real incentive to negotiate and reach an agreement that can truly exclude the nuclear capability.”
The Biden administration has said it wants to strengthen and extend Iran’s restrictions, which denies seeking nuclear weapons.