Iranian and P4+1 representatives at the beginning of the eighth round of JCPOA Joint Commission in Vienna, Austria December 27, 2021 (Photo credit: Reuters)
On 7 February, a US-based news outlet Axios reported that a rift had developed between the government of Israel and the Biden administration over the on-going negotiations to restore the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, commonly known as the Iran nuclear deal.
According to Axios, Tel Aviv alleges that the policy of the Biden administration towards the negotiations poses a danger to the “security” of the Israeli occupation.
The outlet said that on 6 February, the prime minister of Israel, Naftali Bennett held a telephone call with Biden, during which Bennett reportedly tried to convince the US president to withdraw from the Vienna negotiations.
The attempt was unsuccessful. The US government has stated that it will continue with the efforts to restore the deal.
Speaking during a TV interview shortly after the call between Bennett and Biden, Robert Malley, who is leading the US delegation at the Vienna talks said his team will be heading back to the Austrian capital to continue with the negotiations.
The Israeli government has been opposed to the restoration of the Iran nuclear deal from the onset of the negotiations.
In an address to his cabinet on 7 February, Bennett said the restoration of the deal will harm Israel’s “ability to deal with the nuclear program.”
He repeated his threats that Israel would still consider attacking Iran’s nuclear facilities regardless of the outcome of the Vienna talks.
“We are currently closing gaps and building up Israel’s military strength for years and even decades to come. Israel will maintain freedom of action in any case, with or without an agreement,” Bennett stated.
Without providing any evidence, the Israeli occupation has for years claimed that Iran intends to use its nuclear program to build an atomic weapon.
Tehran has denied these allegations and has always insisted that its nuclear program is for peaceful developmental purposes only.