Israeli traditional blackmail

May 1, 2021 - 21:41

TEHRAN – After failing to dissuade the U.S. from pursuing nuclear diplomacy with Iran, the Israeli regime is now working to secure its interests by asking the Biden administration to compensate it for the U.S. reviving the Iran nuclear deal. 

Last week, a senior Israeli delegation comprised of Mossad chief Yosef Cohen, head of military intelligence Tamir Hayman, and National Security Adviser Meir Ben-Shabbat descended on Washington for talks on Iran. Cohen also met with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken according to press reports. Ben-Shabbat and his American counterpart Jake Sullivan held their first in-person meeting since Joe Biden entered the White House on Tuesday.

“The U.S. and Israeli officials discussed their serious concerns about advancements in Iran’s nuclear program in recent years. The United States updated Israel on the talks in Vienna and emphasized strong U.S. interest in consulting closely with Israel on the nuclear issue going forward,” a readout from the White House said.

The White House said the U.S. and Israel agreed to establish a new group to counter Iran’s drones and missiles. “The United States and Israel agreed to establish an inter-agency working group to focus particular attention on the growing threat of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles and Precision Guided Missiles produced by Iran,” The White House said in a statement.

Preventing the U.S. from returning to the Iran nuclear deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), was the main goal of the visiting Israeli delegation. But they failed to achieve this goal, prompting Israel to move on to new demands.

The Israeli officials who visited Washington asked the Biden administration to “improve” the JCPOA rather than simply rejoin it, according to Asharq Al-Awsat.

Harboring strong national security fears, Israel is actively pushing for improving the deal to curb Iran’s nuclear program, the newspaper said.

Citing officials familiar with the meeting between Israeli and American officials, the newspaper said Israel sought to convince the Biden administration to pursue an improved treaty with Iran that prevents Iran from allegedly obtaining nuclear arms rather than simply restore compliance to the 2015 deal.

Israel also seeks to pressure the Biden administration into compensating it for the U.S. decision to return to the JCPOA. 

Haaretz reported that the Israeli delegation to Washington seems to have achieved little in practice regarding the Iran deal. However, the Israeli newspaper said that “Israel will try to secure upgraded aerial capabilities as a kind of insurance policy.”

According to Haaretz, the growing impression in Israel’s military circles is that the Biden administration is absolutely determined to announce the return of the United States to an amended agreement as soon as possible. 

“Israel is already set to draw up a list of additional security requests from the Americans following the signing of the nuclear accord,” it continued. 

The Israeli list is expected to further stoke tensions in the region especially after a U.S. return to the JCPOA. Israeli officials have issued threats against Iran and even threatened it with war. 

Israel’s Intelligence Minister Eli Cohen told Reuters that Israel would not be bound by a bad deal between Iran and world powers and that war with Tehran would be sure to follow.

“A bad deal will send the region spiraling into war,” Cohen said. “Anyone seeking short-term benefits should be mindful of the longer-term.”

He accused Iran of pursuing nuclear weapons, warning that “Iran has no immunity anywhere. Our planes can reach everywhere in the Middle East - and certainly Iran.”

Israel’s rhetoric against Iran comes against a backdrop of progress in the Vienna nuclear talks, which have started in April. So far, the talks moved smoothly with all parties announcing that progress is being made to reach a middle ground on how to remove U.S. sanctions in exchange for Iran reversing the remedial measures it has taken in response to the U.S. withdrawal from the JCPOA in May 2018.

Israel has used everything in its power - from showing alleged “new” evidence of Iran cheating on its JCPOA commitments to pressuring U.S. and European parties to the deal not to rejoin it – to kill the JCPOA. But now that the deal is starting a new life, Israel seems to be counting more on blackmail than any other recourse to achieve its goal of undermining the JCPOA.

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