In Washington on Tuesday, Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid claimed in a meeting with National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan that Iran is “becoming a nuclear threshold state.”
A nuclear threshold state typically means a country has the capability to quickly build nuclear weapons but has not yet done so. Lapid’s comments are just another false claim by Israel that Iran is racing towards a nuclear bomb.
Israel points to the fact that Iran is enriching some uranium at 60 percent as evidence of Tehran’s desire for nuclear weapons. But 60 percent is still well below the 90 percent needed for weapons-grade, and this step was taken in response to an Israeli attack on Iran’s Natanz nuclear facility back in April.
The alarmist wording from Lapid comes as Israel is trying to convince the US not to return to the Iran nuclear deal, known as the JCPOA. Lapid’s office said the Israeli foreign minister raised with Sullivan “the need for an alternative plan” to the JCPOA.
If the Israelis were really concerned with Iran’s nuclear advancements, they would favor a revival of the JCPOA. If the US returns to the JCPOA by lifting sanctions, Iran will comply with the strict limits of the agreement, which include a 3.67 percent cap on uranium enrichment.
One complaint Israel has about the JCPOA is that it is not permanent. But after the agreement expires, Iran would still be bound by the Non-Proliferation Treaty, which Israel refuses to sign due to its secret nuclear weapons program.
Indirect negotiations between the US and Iran to revive the JCPOA have been stalled since June 20th. Iran has said it will return to the talks, but a date has not been set. In the meantime, the US has been coordinating very closely with the Israelis and has imposed more Iran-related sanctions.