Israel is lobbying the United States to push for improved international oversight of Iran’s nuclear program, as Washington negotiates to reenter the 2015 nuclear deal between the Islamic Republic and world powers, Israeli television reported Tuesday.
Jerusalem is pushing for International Atomic Energy Agency officials to have greater powers in inspecting the nuclear sites, the Kan public broadcaster said. The position was formulated after Israeli officials concluded there will not be significant changes to the treaty, but nonetheless sought to slightly improve the terms of the pact, the network said.
Mossad chief Yossi Cohen, National Security Adviser Meir Ben-Shabbat and IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kohavi will all head to the US early next week to lobby on Jerusalem’s behalf, according to the report, which did not cite a source.
Israel was said to have conceded that the deal will be renewed without addressing its concerns about Tehran’s ballistic missile program and support for terror groups.
The report came a day after Israeli officials expressed concern that US President Joe Biden will rush to rejoin the nuclear deal, arguing that Washington’s negotiating power is compromised by its eagerness to clinch a pact.
Talks on restoring the nuclear accord continued Tuesday in Vienna, with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani saying 60-70 percent of issues had been resolved. A spokesman for the US State Department, however, said that while the talks were positive, “we have more road ahead of us than in the rearview mirror.”
Amid the US efforts to rejoin the deal, Israeli and White House officials have been holding strategic talks at collaborating in the effort to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.
Following last week’s session, the Biden administration stressed its commitment to preventing a nuclear-armed Iran.
The Biden administration has repeatedly said it will return to the nuclear deal, if Iran first returns to compliance. Iran has taken a hardline approach, demanding the US lift all sanctions against it first, putting the two sides at a stalemate.
Israeli officials, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, have adamantly opposed the US returning to the nuclear deal, putting Jerusalem at odds with the new White House administration.
Critics have long said that the deal fails to address Iran’s development of nuclear-capable ballistic missiles that can reach Israel and parts of Europe and its constant funding and support of terror groups like Hezbollah.