ANALYSIS: Renewed Iran-US Nuclear Negotiations Increase Chance of Israeli Military Action

Netanyahu almost attacked Iran back in 2011, and this time the situation is far more dire.

By Yochanan Visser | | Topics: Iran
An illustration of Iranian ballistic missile.
An illustration of Iranian ballistic missile. Photo: Allexxandar/Shutterstock

There were new developments related to Iran’s nuclear weapons program last week and these developments make it increasingly clear that Israel stands alone in the fight against Iran’s nuclear weapons program.

Let’s start with the current state of Iran’s nuclear dossier.

As is well known, Iran currently possesses highly enriched uranium (60 to 84 percent) for the production of five nuclear weapons and it will only take a few weeks to process this uranium to the 90 percent needed for a nuclear bomb.

The discussion in Israel is now mainly about what can be done to stop this process.

Last week, the discussion was fueled by reports that the US administration of President Joe Biden was secretly negotiating with Iran to return to some form of political agreement that should freeze Iran’s nuclear weapons program at its current level.

The Oman-brokered indirect talks between Iran and the US are also about mitigating international sanctions against Iran, such as allowing legal oil sales after Iran massively ducked the oil sanctions by selling huge amounts on the black market.

When Iran would agree to freeze its nuclear program at the current level the US government would also begin releasing $17 billion in frozen assets from Iran under the new deal.

That amount could reach a sum as high as $21 billion but is much less than the $150 billion the Obama administration transferred to Iran in 2015 under the original JCPOA nuclear deal.

Both Iran and the United States now work to create a situation where a new agreement can be reached as quickly as possible with Iranian diplomats last week reporting that progress has been made in negotiations.

A statement from the State Department later also seemed to indicate that there is a new deal with Iran is imminent now.

The statement seen by Fox Digital News said that the Biden administration “will protect and defend American citizens.”

This indicated that the release of Americans in Iranian prisons is also part of an arbitrary new nuclear deal. Four American citizens are currently being held hostage by Iran.

Sayyed Mohammad Marandi, an adviser to Iran’s negotiating team, said this week that the new agreement’s text is already agreed upon and the deal would only await signature by the US government,  Benjamin Weinthal, the Fox  Digital News Middle East correspondent reported.

On Monday this week, Iran finally confirmed that it was conducting negotiations when Foreign Ministry spokesman Nasser Kanaani told reporters that the Iranian regime held indirect talks with a US negotiating team in Oman last month.


Israel’s options

 For Israel, the new agreement, if signed, means that the options the Jewish state has for setting back Iran’s nuclear weapons program are reduced to the military option alone.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu cannot spar again with the current Democratic government in the US mainly because Biden does not maintain a dialogue with the Israeli prime minister.

Netanyahu is still waiting for an invitation to visit the White House, which is perhaps the best indication that he has no one there who will pay attention to his warnings about closing a new nuclear deal with the Iranian regime.

The Prime Minister only has regular telephone contact with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

Such a telephone conversation took place on Thursday last week when the prime minister, in his own words, had “lengthy talks” with Blinken and told the US top diplomat that Israel would not feel bound by a new nuclear deal between the US and Iran.

Nor can Netanyahu, as in 2015, go to the US Congress to influence the negotiations with Iran since it most likely would jeopardize the close military and intelligence cooperation between Israel and the US regarding Iran.  

The behavior of the European countries further shows that Netanyahu also has no partner on the old continent for stopping Iran and its race to the nuclear bomb.

The three European superpowers France, Germany and the United Kingdom are good at issuing statements condemning Iran for its nuclear activities but when it comes to military action against Iran, the governments of these countries have nothing to say. 

In addition, it also appeared again last week that Israel has no partner in the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna after the UN organization closed two investigations into Iran’s hitherto undeclared nuclear activities.

This concerns the nuclear plants Fordow and Marivan where IAEA inspectors found uranium particles reprocessed to 83.7 percent (Fordow) and where tests were carried out with detonators for a nuclear weapon (Marivan).

Israeli government representatives condemned the IAEA decision and accused the IAEA of “bowing under pressure from Iran”.

Prime Minister Netanyahu said in response that Iran continues to lie to the IAEA, saying the Agency had “capitulated” and that this was “a stain” on the IAEA’s Iranian nuclear dossier.

IAEA director Rafael Grossi denied, however, that his agency had compromised on the matter of the investigation into Iran’s undeclared nuclear activities and later revealed that the IAEA had even made some progress in the inspection process.

According to the UN Atomic Energy Agency, new cameras had been installed in facilities where Iran produces centrifuges.

The IAEA also installed monitoring equipment for the first time at the Fordow and Natanz nuclear facilities, where Iran enriches uranium.

Iran, meanwhile, increased the pressure on Israel last week with the official introduction of a new hypersonic missile which was named “Fattah.”

This hypersonic weapon could deliver a (nuclear?) warhead to Tel Aviv in “400 seconds,” according to the Iranian regime that put on banners in Tehran with this claim during the inauguration of Iran’s latest weapon by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.

Israeli military experts, however, question Iran’s claim that Israel’s missile shields are incapable of shooting the “Fattah” out of the sky since the Arrow anti-missile shield is capable to do so as is the older but improved Patriot system.

They also pointed to earlier spectacular revelations of new Iranian ‘weapons’ that later turned out to be not usable in practice or showed defects during testing.

Political leaders in Israel, meanwhile, made it clear that in the event of military action against Iran, the internal disputes will disappear.

Opposition leader Benny Gantz said this in so many words at a conference organized by The Jerusalem Post when he said all of Israel will unite when the hour of truth comes against Iran.

Prime Minister Netanyahu can also count on the support of his entire cabinet for the first time if he decides that the time has come for military action against Iran minutes of a recent cabinet meeting made clear.

The Israeli leader came close to deciding to attack Iran over its nuclear program way back in 2011 but eventually refrained from doing so after resistance from his intelligence brass and the top of the IDF.

This time around, however, there is clearly a different situation, because, in addition to the nuclear threat from Iran, there is also an encirclement of Israel by the Iranian “axis of resistance.”

In addition, there’s now also broad consensus in the Israeli defense and intelligence apparatus on the need to finally stop Iran.


Israel Today Membership

Read all member content. Access exclusive, in-depth reports from Israel! Free Zoom events. Connect with Israel right from your home! Raise a voice of truth and hope. Support Faith-based journalism in Jerusalem!


/ month
Full access to Israel Today's Member-only content on all Digital Platforms.
Become a Member


/ year
Full access to Israel Today's Member-only content on all Digital Platforms.
Save 18% Per Month.
Become a Member

Six Months

every 6 months
Full access to Israel Today's Member-only content on all Digital Platforms.
Save 9% Per Month.
Become a Member

Leave a Reply

Israel Today Newsletter

Daily news

FREE to your inbox

Israel Heute Newsletter

Tägliche Nachrichten

KOSTENLOS in Ihrer Inbox

Subscribe to our Daily Newsletter