An unnamed Western official speaking to Reuters said one of the US’s main objectives in recently engaging with Iran and reaching some sort of agreement on its nuclear program is to prevent an Israeli attack on the Islamic Republic.
“If (the) Iranians miscalculate, the potential for a strong Israeli response is something that we want to avoid,” the official said.
So far, the US has denied that any deal with Iran is in the works. But Iran has confirmed indirect negotiations have recently taken place in Oman, and a deluge of media reports have said an agreement between the two sides is close.
The Reuters report said the US wants to portray the potential deal as an “understanding” rather than an agreement that would need congressional approval. The majority of Congress is very hawkish on Iran and would likely oppose any formal deal.
A potential understanding that’s on the table would involve Iran either ceasing 60% uranium enrichment or vowing not to go above that level in exchange for access to frozen funds or more general sanctions relief. The US is also looking to secure the release of Americans detained in Tehran.
While Israel is always sounding the alarm about Iran’s nuclear program, it’s opposed to agreements that would restrict Tehran’s uranium enrichment. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday that Israel is opposed to any “mini agreement” between the US and Iran.
Despite Israel’s claims, there’s no sign Iran wants to build a nuclear weapon, and it has never enriched uranium at the 90% level needed for weapons-grade. Iran has also been very cooperative with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) recently, unlike Israel, which has a secret nuclear weapons program and is not a signatory to the Non-Proliferation Treaty.