by: Ilse Strauss
Tuesday, 16 November 2021 | Iran has no intention of rejoining the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). This was Foreign Minister Yair Lapid’s frank message to US Special Envoy on Iran Rob Malley during a meeting in Jerusalem yesterday.
Instead, Lapid warned, the mullahs are simply dangling a carrot, killing time with back-and-forth negotiations about resurrecting the 2015 nuclear plan until the possibility of actually rejoining becomes impossible, Ynetnews reported.
Malley was in Israel on the first leg of a 10-day Mideast trip with stops in Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, as the Biden administration touches base with its allies in the region ahead of the resumption of negotiations between Iran and world powers. The talks have been at an impasse since the election of Iran’s ultra conservative President Ebrahim Raise in June and are slated to restart on November 29 in Vienna.
US President Joe Biden hopes the Vienna negotiations will end with a resurrected JCPOA. So does Malley. He is, after all, one of the accord’s original architects and one of its biggest proponents in the Biden administration.
Israel takes a wholly different position. Jerusalem is not only entirely against the JCPOA, it also believes Iran is using the negotiations as a smoke screen to buy more time as it races towards the nuclear breakout finish line.
This is not a new stance. Israel’s powers-that-be have been outspoken about their concerns. And Lapid used yesterday’s meeting to reiterate the point. “We really don’t want the Americans to think that Israel is comfortable with what is happening,” the Jerusalem Post quoted a senior official as saying. “We’re not.”
Jerusalem’s concern is well deserved. Even while pushing for a return to the JCPOA, the Biden administration is well aware that the odds of success are slim, according to the Jerusalem Post. Iran sees the negotiations merely as a move towards sanction relief—and has admitted as much.
“The talks will not be about the nuclear issue,” Iranian state media Press TV quoted top negotiator Ali Bagheri Kani as saying. “The main purpose of these talks from the Islamic Republic of Iran’s standpoint is to remove the illegal sanctions imposed on the Iranian nation by the US government” after former US President Donald Trump pulled the US out of the deal in 2018.
If Iran fails to budge and the US persists in its hope of walking away with a deal intact, the Jerusalem Post explains, the only possible outcome will be a “less for less” scenario where the US repeals sanctions in exchange for Iran calling halt to its nuclear endeavors without walking back on the nuclear and ballistic strides it has made recently outside the original scope of the JCPOA.
Although this situation is far from ideal for the US and world powers, it would be disastrous for Israel. It leaves an archenemy committed to the Jewish state’s destruction with the enhanced means to execute its plans and the funds on hand to indulge in a world of mischief, like fill the cash coffers of terror proxies Hezbollah and Hamas perched on Israel’s border.
The “less for less” scenario will leave Israel between the hammer and the ambit, a position it will not take willingly. In fact, defense and political leaders in Jerusalem have made it clear that Israel is hard at work to protect itself from the Iranian menace.
Israel Defense Forces (IDF) Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi told the Knesset’s (Parliament) Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee last week that the IDF “is accelerating operational planning and preparedness to deal with Iran and the military nuclear threat.”
Kochavi’s comments came nine months after he instructed the military to begin drafting operational attack plans, three weeks after NIS 5 billion (US $1.6 billion) was allocated to prepare for the execution of such plans and two weeks after a report that the Israeli Air Force (IAF) was allegedly set to start training for a strike to dismantle Iran’s nuclear program as early as the beginning of next year.
The bottom line? Israel knows full well that threats of Jewish annihilation are rarely empty. It also knows that the international community is quick to turn a blind eye when it comes to Jewish distress. Israel is extremely concerned about the looming Iranian existential threat it sees hovering precariously closer—and continues to voice such concerns clearly.
Jerusalem pins little to no hope on a diplomatic solution—and again continues to voice such concerns clearly. Perhaps the Jewish state believes that the only viable solution may be a military one—and has now started to voice that concern clearly.
Posted on November 16, 2021
Source: (Bridges for Peace, November 16, 2021)
Photo Credit: Dragan Tatic/Bundesministerium für Europa, Integration und Äusseres/commons.wikimedia.org
Photo License: Wikimedia
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