According to a report from Israeli TV, Israeli officials have accepted that there will be no significant changes to the Iran nuclear deal, so they are narrowing their demands of Washington.
The report said Israel is now pushing for the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to have more powers in Iran. Israel’s Mossad chief Yossi Cohan, National Security Adviser Meir Ben-Shabbat, and Israeli Defense Forces Chief of Staff Aviv Kohavi are expected to travel to Washington next week to lobby US officials to seek stricter IAEA inspections.
Iran has been clear that they are not willing to negotiate any stricter agreements before the US lifts sanctions and returns to the JCPOA. And considering the deal already makes Iran subject to the most stringent nuclear inspections in the world, there are not many concessions Tehran could make when it comes to the IAEA’s power in the country.
But the fact that Israel is only making this demand is a significant change from its original position. Israeli officials have been outspoken in their opposition to a restoration of the JCPOA and frequently call for a stricter deal that covers Iran’s ballistic missile program, support for groups in the Middle East, and an agreement that doesn’t have an expiration date.
Israel has been expressing its opposition to the JCPOA through covert attacks on Iran. The latest incident attributed to Israel was an explosion at Iran’s Natanz nuclear facility, which led the Iranians to increase some uranium enrichment to 60 percent. The Natanz attack is seen as an effort to sabotage the indirect US-Iran talks that have been ongoing in Vienna.
While the US is signaling there is still a long way to go to revive the JCPOA, Iranian officials have positive things to say about the negotiations. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said on Tuesday that the issues are about “60 to 70 percent” resolved and that a deal could be reached in “little time.”