Israel hints it may not engage Biden on Iran nuclear strategy

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif (2nd L) gestures during the 2015 nuclear talks, in Vienna, Austria, July 14, 2015. | Photo: Reuters / Leonhard Foeger

“We won’t be able to be part of such a process if the new administration returns to that deal,” Israel’s Ambassador to
the US Gilad Erdan says.

Israel held out the possibility on Tuesday that it would not engage with US President Joe Biden on strategy regarding the Iranian nuclear program, urging tougher sanctions and a “credible military threat.”

The remarks by Israel’s envoy to Washington came as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stands for re-election next month.

The new administration has said it wants a US return to a 2015 nuclear deal with Tehran – which former President Donald Trump quit, restoring sanctions – if the Iranians recommit to their own obligations. Washington has also said it wants to confer with allies in the Middle East about such moves.

“We will not be able to be part of such a process if the new administration returns to that deal,” Ambassador Gilad Erdan told Israel’s Army Radio.

Netanyahu aides have privately questioned whether engaging with US counterparts might backfire for Israel, by falsely signaling its consent for any new deal that it still opposes.

Israel was not a party to the 2015 deal.

“We think that if the United States returns to the same accord that it already withdrew from, all its leverage will be lost,” Erdan said.

“It would appear that only crippling sanctions – keeping the current sanctions and even adding new sanctions – combined with a credible military threat – that Iran fears – might bring Iran to real negotiations with Western countries that might ultimately produce a deal truly capable of preventing it breaking ahead (to nuclear arms).”

The Biden administration has said it wants to strengthen and lengthen constraints on Iran, which denies seeking the bomb.

(Israel Hayom).

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