Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz said Tuesday that Israel would do “everything it can” to influence the US against reviving the Iran nuclear deal, known as the JCPOA, and announced that he was traveling to the US later this week.
“The State of Israel is not opposed to agreements in general, but it is opposed to the emerging nuclear agreement,” he said. Gantz’s comments came after a US official told Reuters on Monday that a deal with Iran is “closer” now that Tehran has made concessions and dropped certain demands.
Gantz will travel to Florida on Thursday where he will meet with the head of US Central Command, Gen. Michael Erik Kurilla. Gantz will head to Washington on Friday for a meeting with National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, where he will likely push for the Biden administration to abandon the JCPOA negotiations.
“We are in contact with international authorities, the Americans and others, regarding our opposition to the agreement,” Gantz said. “We will do everything we can to exert influence on this matter.”
Sullivan hosted his Israeli counterpart, Eyal Hulata, at the White House on Tuesday. According to a White House readout of the meeting, the two officials discussed “threats” posed by Iran.
The White House said Sullivan reaffirmed the US commitment “to preserve and strengthen Israel’s capability to deter its enemies and to defend itself by itself against any threat or combination of threats, including from Iran and Iranian-backed proxies; and our commitment to ensure Iran never acquires a nuclear weapon.”
Israeli officials are constantly warning that Israel might attack Iran if the JCPOA is revived, claiming force is the only way to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon. But the JCPOA puts Iran’s nuclear program under strict limits and makes it subject to the most stringent inspections in the world.
Even without the JCPOA, Iran has repeatedly vowed it has no plans to build a nuclear bomb and is a signatory to the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), which Israel refuses to sign due to its secret nuclear weapons program.