Avoiding Israeli attack is key reason for Iran mini-deal – US official

“If [the] Iranians miscalculate, the potential for a strong Israeli response is something that we want to avoid,” the official said.

By Lauren Marcus, World Israel News

A major reason for the urgency of a potential interim deal aimed at curbing Iran’s nuclear development program was preventing a clash between Tehran and Jerusalem, a senior American official told Reuters.

The Biden administration is extremely concerned that should Iran continue enriching uranium and taking other steps to advance its nuclear capabilities, Israel would carry out an airstrike on Iranian soil, targeting nuclear sites in the country.

Fearing that such a move could spark a widespread conflict between Israel and Iran, the Biden administration is seeking a “cooling-down understanding” to lower tensions.

The American official emphasized to Reuters that the U.S. does not view the deal as a permanent agreement, but rather a stopgap measure to prevent an Israeli attack and subsequent escalation.

“If [the] Iranians miscalculate, the potential for a strong Israeli response is something that we want to avoid,” the official told Reuters, speaking on the condition of anonymity.

Senior members of the Israeli government told Hebrew-language media that Israel would not oppose the deal due to its temporary nature.

“It’s not a wide-scale agreement, it’s more like a small agreement, a memorandum of understanding…and I think Israel can live with this if there is real supervision,” Yuli Edelstein, former health minister and head of the Israeli parliament’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, told Channel 12 News on Saturday evening.

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Hebrew-language media reported last week that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had told the committee headed by Edelstein in a closed-door meeting that a mini-deal between Washington and Tehran was inevitable.

“What’s on the agenda at the moment between Washington and Tehran is not a nuclear deal, it’s a mini-deal,” Netanyahu reportedly said. “We will be able to handle it.”

However, in an address to the Knesset, Netanyahu stressed that Israel would not be beholden to abide by a U.S.-Iran deal.

“Our stance is clear: No agreement with Iran will oblige Israel,” Netanyahu said. “Israel will continue to do everything to defend itself.”