Report: Israel Warns US Not to Settle for ‘Partial’ Nuclear Deal With Iran

The US had previously floated the idea of Iran reversing some nuclear steps in exchange for releasing some Iranian funds

The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday that Israel is warning the US not to strike a “partial” nuclear deal with Iran. Israeli officials said they feared the US was setting up for a “less-for-less” agreement that would require Iran to reverse some of its nuclear activity in exchange for some sanctions relief.

Last week, reports said National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan floated the idea of an interim Iran nuclear deal in conversations with his Israeli counterpart, Eyal Hulata. US officials told the journal that the idea of a “less-for-less” deal was just “brainstorming” ahead of the new round of JCPOA talks that are set to start on November 29th.

There is a precedent for such a deal with Iran. In 2013, Iran agreed to stop enriching uranium at 20 percent in exchange for limited sanctions relief while the JCPOA was being negotiated. Earlier this year, in response to an Israeli covert attack, Iran began enriching some uranium at 60 percent, which is still lower than the 90 percent needed for weapons-grade. The JCPOA limited Iran’s enrichment to 3.67.

Israeli officials claim if the US strikes any sort of interim agreement, it would embolden Iran’s hardliners. But such a deal might be the only way forward since the Biden administration and the government of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi appear to be far apart on what they want. Iran wants the US to lift all sanctions that have been imposed since the US withdrew from the deal in 2018, but Biden officials have been clear they do not want to lift all Trump-era sanctions.

On Thursday, Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz said he hoped the US would negotiate a stronger deal than the JCPOA. “A good agreement is one that will plug the holes in the previous agreement in the fields of nuclear development, missile launching systems, breakout time, and what Iran is doing in the region,” he said.

But Gantz’s demands are unrealistic since Iran has no reason to negotiate a stricter agreement after the US failed to stay in the JCPOA. Both Israel and the US have stepped up their threats against Iran ahead of the new round of talks. On Wednesday, Gen. Frank McKenzie, the head of US Central Command (CENTCOM), said his forces are “prepared” for potential military action against Iran if the negotiations fail.

Author: Dave DeCamp

Dave DeCamp is the news editor of, follow him on Twitter @decampdave.