According to a report from Israel’s Walla news site, the head of Israel’s Military Intelligence, Maj. Gen. Aharon Haliva, told a high-level security cabinet meeting that it would be better for Israel if a deal is reached to limit Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief.
The report said Haliva told the cabinet that a deal would be better than if the negotiations that are ongoing in Vienna fail. His comments break from the rest of the Israeli government that has been outspoken in its opposition to the restoration of the Iran nuclear deal, known as the JCPOA.
Since the JCPOA talks restarted at the end of November, Israeli officials have been calling for the US to stop the negotiations and tighten sanctions on Iran and have also been threatening to attack Iran. Haliva said a restored nuclear deal could give Israel more time to bolster its capabilities to strike the Islamic Republic.
Haliva was reportedly responding to comments from David Barnea, the head of Israel’s Mossad spy agency. At the cabinet meeting, Barnea expressed his opposition to the JCPOA and said there was still time to influence Washington on the talks.
If restricting Iran’s civilian nuclear program was Israel’s real concern, favoring a JCPOA revival would be a no-brainer. The agreement restricts Iran’s uranium enrichment levels at 3.67 percent, vastly lower than the 90 percent needed for weapons-grade. The agreement also makes Iran’s nuclear program subject to the most stringent inspections in the world.