The Israeli government’s concerns about the lax US conduct toward Iran are no less serious. The main concern at the moment is that in the absence of the ability to reach a full settlement with the Iranians, the Americans will agree to a partial settlement under which most of the sanctions on Iranian oil exports will be lifted in exchange for a temporary and partial restriction of Iranian uranium enrichment program.
If this nightmare dream comes true from Jerusalem’s point of view, Iran will for years stand in the status of a “nuclear threshold” and have billions to fund its strategic plans for Iran-Shiite hegemony in the Middle East. Recent skyrocketing oil prices will allow the ayatollahs’ regime to fund the continued development of nuclear weapons and the fortification of its offensive facilities, to fund the development and production of precision missile systems and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and to fund its emissary armies. That we attributed his political survival.
In Jerusalem, in the Kirya in Tel Aviv and elsewhere in Israel, they were furious about the publication in the prestigious American newspaper. Not so much because it underestimates the real value of the Mossad’s actions to disrupt Iran’s military nuclear program, nor because it claims in Washington that Israeli activity achieves opposite results to those desired by Israel and the United States. The Washington administration is pressuring the government in Jerusalem, through Israeli public opinion, to join the conciliatory line it is taking – the return of Iran through diplomacy to a renewed nuclear deal.
To be fair, this week’s article in the New York Times was preceded by several articles and commentaries in the Israeli media in recent weeks criticizing Washington’s eagerness to return to the nuclear deal, without even trying to back up the diplomatic effort to use pressure levers, including a credible military threat. There has also been criticism in Israel that the Biden administration does not have a “Plan B”, ie an alternative plan to prevent nuclear weapons from Iran in case the negotiations fail or explode.
The Israeli prime minister made it clear to the United States and the five powers still signing the nuclear deal (Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China) that Israel does not respond to Washington’s demand to refrain from disrupting Iran’s military nuclear program, and intends to continue during and after the negotiations. Consequently, Israel considers itself free to carry out a preventive attack on all components of the Iranian nuclear and missile program at any time it chooses – even in the event that an agreement is reached and it is in force.
The implication is clear: the new conservative regime in Iran understands only the language of power. He gives up and is willing to compromise only when he encounters determined resistance. Conclusion: Even the diplomatic channel through which the US tries to persuade Iran to suspend its aggressive strategy will not bring the desired results, unless it has the backing of a credible economic and military threat.
The interesting thing is that in the Biden administration there are quite a few senior officials who show understanding for the Israeli claims. From the Zoom interview with White House Adviser Brett McGurk, edited by Maj. Gen. Amos Gilad, who initiated and chaired the conference, it was clear that the Biden administration has a “Plan B” in case negotiations fail, but this alternative plan is based on additional economic and diplomatic sanctions. That this time they will be more biting as they will be imposed in full cooperation with the Europeans and possibly also with China and Russia.
McGurk also hinted at a possible military option, but did not say so explicitly, either because he feared the Iranians or because that option – at least for the time being – is not on Biden’s table. He only noted that the United States had transferred military ties with Israel to the Central Committee (US Central Command responsible for the Middle East arena). This means that the United States is tightening and facilitating military cooperation with Israel and considers it part of the Middle East Arab Gulf states.
But Jerusalem did not calm down. Today, the conservative Wall Street Journal published the appropriate Zionist response to an article published Monday in the New York Times. Israeli officials have explicitly expressed concern about a partial nuclear deal between the United States and the powers to be reached in Vienna. “B will not sit idly by if Iran delays progress in the nuclear talks.” “, said.
This is more or less the situation on the eve of the opening of negotiations in Vienna, which will probably be long and exhausting. It is likely to postpone for at least a few years the need for a major preventive offensive against the Islamic Republic.
However, one can distinguish the difference between Bennett’s strict view of the Americans as an almost conciliatory Munich-style approach and arguing that this approach should not be cooperated with, and Ganz who believes that cooperation with the Americans is important to Israel’s national security. The difference is in the nuances, but it is likely that as the outlines of a new nuclear agreement between the powers and Iran (if any) become clearer, disagreements between the Prime Minister’s Office in Jerusalem and the General Staff building and the Ministry of Defense in Tel Aviv will erupt.
In Iran, it seems that the rigid conservative regime of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and new President Ibrahim Raisi does not intend to give up even the iodine tip, but only to exhaust the powers and Americans and pressure them with outside provocations until they surrender and remove sanctions, or until negotiations fail and Iran shuffles Its path at a pace that will set towards a nuclear threshold capability.
It is estimated that Tehran will not assemble a nuclear warhead even if it can, nor will it conduct a nuclear test. If for fear of isolation in the international arena and the sanctions that the US will impose on it or if because Iran has nuclear weapons, it will also run all the countries in the region, especially Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Turkey. By the way, Iran also declares – like Israel – that it does not want a partial nuclear agreement in Vienna.
In any case, on the eve of the resumption of nuclear talks, Israel must formulate an independent strategy. The denial of the American negotiating strategy and fear of its consequences are not a substitute for Israeli policy and initiatives that will allow us to maintain the freedom of political maneuver and the freedom of action, so that we will eventually be able to prevent nuclear weapons from Iran at any time and in any strategic environment.
In this context, it seems appropriate to refrain from responding to the US demand to suspend or suspend for a time the covert operations to disrupt Iran’s military nuclear project. Although this activity did not disrupt the Iranian nuclear program, it slowed it down for quite some time and helped us instill in the minds of world leaders that Iran is striving for nuclear weapons.
In addition, operations disrupting the nuclear program and harming missile and UAV programs in Iran contribute significantly to Israeli deterrence, and help us mobilize cooperation within Iran and the Persian Gulf.
Finally, it should be recognized that the success of Israel’s covert disruption operations contributes to eroding the stability of the ayatollahs’ regime. This does not mean that a mass uprising against Khamenei and Raisi is around the corner. Certainly not directly because of what Israel is doing. But historical experience shows that sometimes, when the fuel vapor is in the air, even a small spark can ignite a large combustion.
For all these reasons it is desirable and even necessary to step up disruptive activity in Iran, which will also buy us time to prepare for the decisive confrontation if we are required to. Every six months that pass brings Israel closer to the day when it will have a military, diverse, independent and reliable option – through which we can deprive Iran of the ability to threaten and / or use nuclear weapons against us. The day when Israel will have such a capability – both defensively and offensively – is not very far off.