According to a report from The Times of Israel, Israeli officials recognize that the Biden administration is intent on returning to the Iran nuclear deal and are now focusing their efforts on pushing President Biden to keep Trump-era Iran sanctions in place.
The strategy doesn’t make much sense considering the US withdrew from the JCPOA by reimposing sanctions on Iran. It’s possible that the Israelis want Iran’s civilian nuclear program to be under the strict limits of the JCPOA while the Islamic Republic is still under crippling sanctions. But Tehran would never agree to reduce its nuclear activity without significant sanctions relief.
So far, despite entering indirect talks with Iran, the Biden administration has refused to lift all Trump era sanctions, so the two sides have been negotiating what measures the US will lift. An unnamed Israeli official who spoke to the Times gave credit to the Biden administration for refusing to lift sanctions up to this point.
The official said Israel had expressed its position on sanctions to the Biden administration during recent high-level Israeli visits to Washington. Recent delegations included Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz, President Reuven Rivlin, and IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kohavi.
The official also said that Israeli officials have made clear to the Biden administration that Israel has the “right to act against Iran’s nuclear ambitions,” likely a reference to covert attacks against Iran’s nuclear program. “The US seems to accept this,” the official said.
On Tuesday, Iran blamed Israel for a June attack on a building owned by Iran’s nuclear authority outside of Tehran. In April, Israel carried out a covert attack against Iran’s Natanz nuclear facility, which coincided with the start of negotiations to revive the JCPOA. Despite the clear attempt by Israel to sabotage the talks, the US has not condemned Israel’s action.