A group of nearly 3,000 Israeli military leaders, soldiers, commanders, and intelligence officials are warning the Biden administration and Democrats in Congress that a new nuclear deal with Iran poses "a significant threat to Israel's security."
These leaders, who organized under the umbrella group Israel's Defense and Security Forum (IDSF), raise concerns that the United States will sign a deal that gives Iran the cash assets needed to fund terrorism and put it on a glide path to a nuclear weapon that will be used to destroy the Jewish state, according to a letter sent last week to Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman Bob Menendez (D., N.J.) and senior Biden administration officials.
The 2015 nuclear accord "is fatally flawed and represents a significant threat to Israel's security," the Israeli leaders write, according to a copy of the letter obtained by the Washington Free Beacon. "Returning to this expired and flawed agreement would be a grave mistake." Iran's only goal, they say, is to create a "nuclear umbrella under which Tehran can dominate the region."
The letter, sent on Dec. 9, comes as the Biden administration continues its diplomatic effort to secure a revamped nuclear deal with Iran, which would lift sanctions on the hardline regime and provide it with billions of dollars in cash assets. The Israeli government has expressed its fear about a new deal, but the IDSF letter outlines in the clearest terms to date what the Jewish state expects from the Biden administration if it follows through with negotiations. Concerns about a new deal have been growing as Iran boosts its enrichment of uranium, the central fuel for an atomic weapon, even as it participates in talks with the United States.
As the Biden administration considers inking a temporary deal that places fewer restrictions on Iran's nuclear program, the Israeli generals warn that this type of agreement "would fuel Iran's already recovering economy and leave Israel in an unacceptably precarious situation."
A so-called less-for-more deal removes "necessary pressure from the clerical regime and grant it valuable time to increase its resilience against future American economic pressure, continue skirting international inspections and oversight into their undeclared nuclear activities, and provide patient pathways to nuclear weapons and the missiles to deliver them." Such an outcome, they say, is unacceptable.
The Israeli military leaders go on to outline seven areas in which Iran must be held accountable in order for any deal to be viewed as a success by Israel.
"A new agreement should include a much more comprehensive verification and supervision mechanism, including the ability to conduct inspections anywhere and anytime, a full resolution of the [International Atomic Energy Agency's] outstanding questions about undeclared nuclear materials, sites, and activities, and the monitoring and questioning of scientists related to the Iranian nuclear program," they write.
A new deal should prohibit Iran's development of ballistic missiles, which the regime is building to deliver a nuclear payload over great distances. The original nuclear accord notably excluded restrictions on Iran's ballistic missile program, creating a loophole that critics viewed as a fatal flaw.
The United States should also push for the reimposition of all United Nations sanctions on Iran under a mechanism known as "snapback." The Trump administration chose to invoke this failsafe mechanism, which was written into the original nuclear deal, but the Biden administration reversed the decision soon after taking office. The Israeli military leaders say these sanctions are critical to keeping the Iranian regime's economy on the ropes.
Any new deal must also renew a longstanding arms embargo on Iran, which expired in October 2020 and has not been renewed. This has allowed Iran to purchase advanced military equipment from nations such as Russia and China, both of which oppose a renewal of the embargo.
The Israeli military leaders also are calling for terrorism sanctions on Iran's elite Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps to be preserved under any new deal. Sanctions on the military group have prevented it from expanding its control of Iran's nuclear-related industries. This would also include sanctions on Iran's central bank, which funds terrorism and the country's nuclear program.
"All sanctions for terrorism, missile proliferation, and human rights abuses must be maintained until there is demonstrable evidence that the malign activities underlying those sanctions has permanently ended," the leaders write.
Published under: Iran