Although the Biden administration is likely to sign-off soon on a nuclear deal with Iran that essentially reestablishes the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), which the U.S. withdrew from under President Donald Trump in 2018, the leader of Israel's national intelligence agency, the Mossad, said the deal is "based on lies" and a "strategic disaster" for Israel, according to Israeli and Western media.
David Barnea, head of the Mossad, said the deal is "very bad for Israel," and that the U.S. "is rushing into an accord that is ultimately based on lies," reported the Times of Israel on Aug. 26.
The deal "'gives Iran license to amass the required nuclear material for a bomb' in a few years," said Barnea, "and will also provide Tehran billions of dollars in currently frozen money, increasing the danger Iran poses throughout the region via its proxies," added the Times of Israel.
The deal is being negotiated among the U.S., Iran, Germany, Britain, Russia, and the European Union. The goal is to allow the Islamic Republic of Iran to develop nuclear technology for energy and peaceful purposes and prevent the regime from building nuclear weapons. In exchange, the U.S. and other nations would cut back or cease the myriad sanctions imposed on Iran for not following U.N. rules on nuclear development.
Israel and many international observers believe that Iran, despite its public pronouncements about peace, is committed to developing nuclear weapons.
“In our eyes, it does not meet the standards set by President Biden himself: preventing Iran from becoming a nuclear state,” said Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid on Aug. 24. “Israel is not against any agreement. We are against this agreement, because it is a bad one."
Also on Wednesday, former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the deal was "terrible," and "enables Iran to get everything and give nothing…. The current deal is worse than the previous deal" in 2015.
“Deals don’t stop the nuclear plan,” Neanyahu said, as reported by the Times of Israel. “The combination of grinding sanctions and a rich, realistic, credible military threat are the only things that stop [a nuclear weapons program].”
Mossad chief David Barnea said he expects the deal to be completed and signed "within a few weeks," and stressed that Israel will do whatever is necessary to protect its national security.
“The agreement is the given situation, and one that we have not signed on to," Barnea said, as reported in Haaretz. "We will do anything we need in order to defend ourselves against any threat, and there will be threats. We are committed to dealing with said threats, even if they are nuclear."
He added, “Iran is, on one hand, negotiating in regard to the nuclear deal, and on the other hand is waging a terror campaign against the U.S., American targets such as John Bolton and Mike Pompeo, and American military bases in Syria."
“[T]his will continue to happen in the future, first and foremost against [Israel]," said Barnea.
The intelligence chief also said that both the U.S. and Europe understand the threat posed by Iran but do not want to take military action given the current conflict in Ukraine. Given the situation, "Barnea suggests that the best course of action is to put immense international pressure on Tehran," reported Haaretz.
Israel has urged President Biden and European leaders to walk away from the deal.
Commenting on the proposal, Aaron David Miller, a Distinguished Fellow at the Woodrow Wilson Center and former State Department analyst, said, "However imperfect JCPOA may have been, as an internationally recognized agreement that restricted Iran's nuclear program, it gave those in Israel, Iran and the US, who see the dangers inherent in escalation, an argument still to pursue diplomacy. Without an accord of some kind, the field will be open to a range of non-diplomatic measures."