With the incoming Biden administration expected to return to diplomacy with Iran, Israeli officials are working on ways to sabotage a revival of the 2015 nuclear deal, known as the JCPOA.
An Israeli source told Bloomberg that Israeli officials are weighing their options and deciding between a public crusade against the JCPOA or a quieter strategy through behind-the-scenes engagement with the Biden administration. In the coming weeks, Israel is expected to send a stream of envoys to Washington to discuss the JCPOA.
Israeli officials, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, have made their opposition to Biden’s known. Reports from Israeli media said Netanyahu is at odds with Defense Minister Benny Gantz over handling Biden’s Iran policy.
Netanyahu is looking to box Gantz out of Iran talks with the Biden administration. Gantz was set to take over as prime minister in November 2021 as part of a power-sharing deal between his Blue and White party and Netanyahu’s Likud. But the coalition collapsed, and Israelis are heading back to the polls for another election in March.
The upcoming election could cause Netanyahu to move hard and fast against Biden’s attempts at diplomacy with Iran. Considering he likely signed off on the November assassination of Iranian scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, an aggressive move is not out of the question for Netanyahu.
Any hardline moves from Netanyahu could impede Biden’s plans. It might require Biden to take a strong public stance against Netanyahu and Israel early in his administration.