(Photo credit: Times of Israel)
According to Hebrew media reports, the Israeli defense and security establishment is divided over whether a revival of the Iran sanctions-removal deal would be in the interests of Tel Aviv.
Israeli newspaper Yediot Aharonot reported on 24 June that several military officials, including the head of military intelligence Major General Aaron Haliva, are in favor of a deal.
This contradicts the official position taken by Tel Aviv and the army’s Chief of Staff, Aviv Kochavi, who have referred to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) as dangerous.
The report comes just after an announcement made by the EU foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell, who said that the Vienna talks, which have been indefinitely stalled for the last three months, must resume “immediately.”
The announcement came after lengthy talks between Borrell and Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian in Tehran on 25 June, where the EU foreign policy chief emphasized the “need to close the deal now.”
The Israeli report states that Haliva and other senior military officials believe that a bad deal is better than no deal at all, as it buys Israel time to prepare an attack against Iran.
The Mossad, according to the report, believes otherwise, and have said that a deal would only buy time in the short term.
The report names a number of military officials who are in favor of a return to the deal, including Brigadier General Amit Saar, the head of the military intelligence Research Division, Brigadier General Oren Setter, who heads the army’s Strategic Division, and others.
The report also adds that Israeli Defense Minister, Benny Gantz, has recognized that a revival of the deal is not in Israel’s worst interest. As of yet, the military has refused to comment on the newspaper report.
In response to the report, Gantz said via Twitter on 26 June that while the Israeli military does have a say in Tel Aviv’s Iran policy, “it is the government echelon that makes the decisions.”
“We will continue holding open and deep dialogue behind closed doors only. Any other manner harms the State of Israel’s security,” Gantz said, in what some have interpreted as an attempt to dispel rumors on possible dissent within the Israeli military establishment and intelligence apparatus.
מערכת הביטחון עוסקת באיום האיראני לילה ויום כסוגיה האסטרטגית החשובה והדחופה ביותר כעת לביטחון ישראל. זה נעשה בתיאום בין כל זרועות הביטחון ותוך מתן חופש דעה, כשאת ההחלטות מקבל הדרג המדיני. את השיח הפתוח והעמוק נמשיך לקיים רק בחדרים הסגורים. כל דרך אחרת פוגעת בביטחון מדינת ישראל.
— בני גנץ – Benny Gantz (@gantzbe) June 26, 2022
Earlier this month, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) put forth an anti-Iran resolution on behalf of the US and a number of European countries, accusing Tehran of refusing to cooperate with the agency.
The Iranian Foreign Minister has said that the resolution was an attempt by Washington to pressure Iran into political concessions at the Vienna talks.
The Islamic Republic has accused the IAEA of being politically compromised and hijacked by Israel, having previously presented evidence that the agency sends in spies and saboteurs under the guise of nuclear inspectors, who allegedly pass sensitive information on to Iran’s adversaries.