Israel warns it may not engage with Biden on Iran nuclear strategy

Israel warns it may not engage with Biden on Iran nuclear strategy
Israel has hinted that it will not work with the US to restart the Iran nuclear deal and called for tougher sanctions on Tehran.
2 min read
16 February, 2021
Netanyahu's government opposes a US return to the Iran nuclear deal [Getty]

Israel has suggested that it will refuse to work with US President Joe Biden on efforts to return to the 2015 nuclear deal which former President Donald Trump's administration withdrew from.

The Israeli ambassador to the United States, Gilad Erdan, called for tougher sanctions and a “credible military threat” against Iran

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government has been vocal in its opposition to a return to the Iran nuclear deal, a key element of Biden’s foreign policy.

The Israeli government, however, have yet to have any direct official communication with the new administration. 

Former president Trump unilaterally withdrew from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) in 2018, and reimposed sanctions on Iran. 

The Biden administration has expressed its desire to work with regional allies in negotiating a new nuclear deal. 

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

“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 weapons],” he added.

Since taking office, Biden has stated that the US will not lift sanctions until Iran falls back into compliance with the terms of the original 2015 deal. 

Iran has been receptive to US calls for negotiations, but Foreign Minister Mohamad Javid Zarif warned earlier this month that the United States "has a limited window of opportunity", adding that Biden should not "take advantage of the failed policies of the former Trump administration".

Read more: Involving regional states in Iran talks is a recipe for failure

Biden and Netanyahu, who is up for re-election next month, have yet to make contact, with some aides to the Israeli PM suggesting that such engagement could be interpreted as Israeli consent to a new Iran deal, which it continues to strongly oppose. 

“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.

Israel was not one of the original signatories to the 2015 nuclear deal. 

Agencies contributed to this report.


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