Sending a message to the incoming Biden administration, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu urged against returning to the 2015 Iran nuclear deal during a speech on Sunday.
“There must be no return to the previous nuclear agreement,” Netanyahu said during an event honoring Israel’s first prime minister, David Ben-Gurion. “We must stick to an uncompromising policy to ensure that Iran does not develop nuclear weapons.”
Joe Biden has said he plans to work with Iran to return to the deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). But his administration will face enormous pressure from Iran hawks in Congress, Israel, and some Gulf states to pursue a tougher agreement.
Saudi Foreign Minister Faisal bin Farhan al-Saud said on Saturday that Saudi Arabia should be involved in future negotiations between the US and Iran on a new nuclear deal. Al-Saud said the deal should cover not only Iran’s nuclear program but also its “regional malign activity.” He said the deal could be called the “JCPOA++.”
Opponents of the JCPOA criticize the deal for not covering things like Iran’s ballistic missile program or its support for groups in the Middle East but demanding new restrictions before sanctions relief is likely a non-starter for negotiations with Iran.