‘Behind closed doors’ – Mossad, IDF intelligence clash over Iran deal

Security establishment split on whether nuclear deal will buy Israel time or free up resources for Iran.

By World Israel News Staff

The Mossad intelligence agency and the Israeli army’s intelligence branch are at odds over whether or not Israel should support or oppose a return to the Iranian nuclear deal, which would see the Islamic Republic pledge to suspend its nuclear development program in exchange for relief from crippling sanctions.

According to a report in Yediot Ahronot, Defense Minister Benny Gantz and senior military intelligence officials favor an agreement.

The paper reported that while none of the men are particularly hopeful that the deal will mitigate the Iranian threat for the long term, they believe that the agreement could buy time, during which Israel can strengthen its defenses.

However, a Mossad source told Yediot that lifting sanctions would allow Iran access to funds and material that it could use to secretly ramp up its nuclear program, as well as better support and arm its regional proxies, like the Lebanon-based terror group Hezbollah.

The paper noted that IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Aviv Kochavi and Mossad director David Barnea oppose the deal, in line with Israel’s stance on the deal since it was supported by then-president Barack Obama and European leaders in 2016.

The report comes as negotiations in Vienna aimed at restoring the 2015 Iran nuclear deal are set to resume this week.

In what appeared to be an indirect reference to internal clashes over whether a return to the deal should be supported by Israel, Gantz tweeted that “the defense establishment is dealing with the Iranian threat at night and as the most important and urgent strategic issue today for Israel’s security.”

Discussions about next steps are “done in coordination between all the security arms and with freedom of opinion, while giving decisions to the political echelon. We will continue to hold the open and deep discourse only behind closed doors.. Any other way harms the security of the State of Israel.”