On Thursday, Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz said Israel was working with the US to increase monitoring of Iran’s nuclear program. He also made a veiled threat about a potential Israeli attack against Iran, saying that “all options are on the table.”
“We are working closely with our American allies, in order to both increase oversight at this time and to clarify to Iran that all options are on the table, always,” Gantz told a group of former US military officials who traveled to Israel with the Jewish Institute for National Security of America, a hawkish Washington-based think tank.
It’s not clear what sort of “oversight” the US and Israel are working on. The US is currently engaged in indirect negotiations with Iran to revive the nuclear deal, known as the JCPOA. The talks are being dragged out by the Biden administration’s unwillingness to lift all Trump-era sanctions.
The Israelis are against a revival of the JCPOA and have expressed their opposition to it through covert attacks. But if “oversight” was really the concern for Israel, it would favor a US return to the JCPOA since it makes Iran’s nuclear program subject to the most stringent inspections in the world.
Israeli Defense Forces Chief of Staff Avi Kohavi is headed to Washington this Sunday, where he will lead an IDF delegation to discuss Iran with Biden administration officials. Kohavi has publicly expressed his opposition to Biden rejoining the JCPOA.
The delegation will be the first high-level Israeli visit to Washington since Naftali Bennet replaced Benjamin Netanyahu as prime minister. Israel’s new foreign minister, Yair Lapid, suggested in a speech this week that the Bennet government might take a less confrontational approach to the US than Netanyahu did regarding the JCPOA. “It was a bad deal. I opposed it. I still oppose it. Israel could have, with a different approach, influenced it far more,” Lapid said.