U.S. and Iran Discuss Return to Nuclear Deal

United States President Joe Biden has expressed interest in reviving and returning to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), better known as the Iran nuclear deal. Indirect negotiations between the U.S. and Iran took place earlier this week. Abbas Araqchi, Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator, expressed optimism over the “constructive” talks in Vienna. But this move has dangerous implications for Israel. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke publicly about the consequences of the U.S.’s potential return to the deal on Tuesday in a Knesset meeting: 

“The danger that Iran will return – and this time with an international imprimatur – to a path that will allow it to develop a nuclear arsenal is on our doorstep on this very day… We cannot go back to the dangerous nuclear plan, because a nuclear Iran is an existential threat and a very big threat to the security of the whole world.”

Araqchi said Tehran, Iran’s capital, will not suspend its uranium enrichment even if US sanctions are dropped, according to The Jerusalem Post. The Iranian capital continues to deny its uranium enrichment serves any purpose besides civilian nuclear energy, but Israel and European parties to the deal have exposed the fact that the enrichment and the development of uranium metals cannot be used for civilian purposes.

These are scary times. If the United States uses its power to support Iran’s path to a nuclear arsenal, Israel will be a sitting duck. It has long been Iran’s goal to wipe Israel off the face of the earth, and the sanctions that have slowed their development of nuclear weapons may have been about the only thing stopping them from all-out assault on Israel. The authorities seem to understand that Iran is bluffing when they claim their uranium enrichment goes toward energy for its people. But that makes the fact that this deal could progress even more startling. Iran must not be allowed to pursue its publicly stated goal of destroying Israel, so it’s imperative that the United States’ actions regarding the deal not restart Iran’s nuclear energy buildup.