Mossad chief says impending Iran deal ‘based on lies’ is ‘very bad for Israel’

Mossad chief David Barnea called an emerging Iran nuclear deal between the Islamic Republic and world powers a “strategic disaster” for Israel, during recent meetings on the deal.

In comments carried by Hebrew media on Thursday evening, the spymaster said the agreement is “very bad for Israel” and the The United States is “rushing to a deal that is ultimately based on lies”, citing Iran’s persistent assertion that its nuclear activities are peaceful in nature.

Barnea added that a deal seemed inevitable “in light of the needs of the United States and Iran.” Washington seeks to prevent Tehran from acquiring the capability to build a nuclear bomb, while the Islamic Republic seeks freedom from crippling financial and economic sanctions.

According to Barnea, the deal, due to its sunset clauses, “gives Iran permission to amass the nuclear material needed for a bomb” in a few years, and will also provide Tehran with billions of dollars in money currently frozen, increasing the danger posed by Iran. throughout the region via its agents.

He stressed that a deal would not bind Israel and that the Jewish state would act as it saw fit to neutralize the threat against it. Israel has already begun preparations for a military strike against Iran if such action is deemed necessary.

“Mossad is preparing and knows how to eliminate this threat,” Barnea said. “If we don’t act, Israel will be in danger.”

Prime Minister Yair Lapid sat down for a discussion of the impending deal with Barnea earlier on Thursday.

Prime Minister Yair Lapid speaks during a faction meeting in Tel Aviv on August 25, 2022. (Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90)

On Wednesday, Iran announced that it had received the United States’ response to its proposal to return to the so-called Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, which had been scrapped by then-US President Donald Trump. in 2018.

White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby declined to characterize the administration’s response to the latest proposal, but noted that “we are closer now than we were a while ago. a few more weeks because Iran has made the decision to make concessions”.

tomb stone Told told reporters on Thursday that Israel’s efforts to influence the outcome of the talks had paid off, but that the deal was still “a bad deal” for Israel.

The Prime Minister referred to both National Security Adviser Eyal Hulata’s trip to Washington this week for “very intensive discussions” on the issue and Defense Minister Benny Gantz’s visit to the United States, which began Thursday.

Gantz met with the head of US Central Command, General Michael Kurilla, in Tampa, Florida, to discuss ways to increase cooperation between Israel and the US military, as well as methods to counter the Iranian threat in the Middle East. East.

Defense Minister Benny Gantz (L) arrives in Florida en route to the CENTCOM headquarters on August 25, 2022. (Courtesy Israeli Defense Ministry)

Before leaving for Washington, Gantz tweeted that the purpose of his trip was “to send a clear message regarding the negotiations between Iran and the powers on the nuclear deal: a deal that does not roll back the capabilities of the Iran for years and does not restrict it”. for years to come, is an agreement that will harm global and regional security.

While Gantz was in Washington, Iran conducted a second day of military exercises with combat drones. The drones successfully destroyed many of their targets during the exercises, according to the semi-official Fars news agency.

The Walla news site claimed that Israeli officials are slightly less worried about the possibility of the United States making major concessions to Tehran following Hulata’s visit to DC on Wednesday.

Quoting a senior Israeli official, the report said the US has “hardened its stance” and refused to make concessions to Iran in response to pressure from Israel.

Channel 12 reported on Thursday that the emerging deal would not require the United States to remove Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps from its list of foreign terrorist organizations, or rescind Iran’s obligation to explain suspected sites of nuclear activity to the International Atomic Energy Agency.

Rafael Grossi, Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), speaks at the start of the tenth annual review of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty at UN Headquarters on August 1, 2022 in New York City. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images/AFP)

IAEA chief Rafael Grossi told the PBS network that the United States “has not pressured” the nuclear watchdog to compromise on its demands of Iran over these sites and said he believed investigators would eventually be allowed to investigate.

“We’ll get there, I’m sure,” Grossi said.

Iran, on the other hand, on Thursday reiterated its call for the IAEA to end its investigation into unexplained traces of uranium at three undeclared sites.

“We are very serious about the safeguard issues and do not want to let some of the IAEA’s groundless accusations linger,” Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said, according to the official IRNA news agency.

The issue has poisoned relations between the IAEA and the Islamic Republic, which considers the matter “of a political nature, and which should not be used as a pretext to punish Iran”, an Iranian diplomat said, according to IRNA.

Negotiations for a return to the nuclear deal have intensified in recent weeks, after months of deadlock following Iranian demands rejected by Washington.

EU-coordinated talks began in April 2021, broke off in March and resumed in August. The Biden administration has repeatedly said it believes diplomacy is the best way to resolve the crisis.

During a briefing to foreign reporters on Wednesday, Lapid urged the United States and the European Union to walk away from the emerging deal, saying it did not meet US President Joe Biden’s own red lines because it would not prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear-weapon state. .

Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator Ali Bagheri Kani (L) leaves after talks at Coburg Palace, venue of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) in Vienna on August 4, 2022. (Alex Halada/AFP)

“In our view, this does not meet the standards set by President Biden himself: to prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear state,” Lapid said, while also trying to minimize any rupture between Jerusalem and Washington or the Europe.

Lapid criticized the EU’s negotiating stance, saying it backtracked on its “take it or leave it” statement when it presented a supposed final draft of the deal, allowing the Iranians to submit countermeasures. requests and changes.

Opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu, who campaigned fiercely against the 2015 deal, also voiced fierce opposition to the deal on Wednesday, saying the emerging new deal is even worse than before.

“The terrible deal with Iran… casts a heavy shadow over our security and our future,” Netanyahu told reporters in Tel Aviv.

Israel has long opposed the deal, arguing that Iran is seeking to build a nuclear bomb, and has released intelligence it says reveals Iran’s weapons program. Iran has denied any nefarious intent and says its program is designed for peaceful purposes, although it has recently enriched uranium to levels that international leaders say have no civilian use.

Agencies contributed to this report.

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