A former Obama official said Biden wants to return to the deal negotiated while he was vice president.
By David Isaac, World Israel News
Reentering the nuclear deal with Iran is high on President-elect Joe Biden’s list of priorities, former senior Obama official Amos Hochstein told Israel’s Channel 12 on Sunday.
“The nuclear agreement with Iran is a very high priority,” Hochstein said.
“I assume that in the first months of his tenure we will see either a return to the full agreement or a return to the suspension of sanctions in exchange for a stay of some of the Iranian nuclear systems built in the last three years,” he said.
Iranian elections will also be taking place “and we need to see what they want to do,” Hochstein noted. “But the desire of the president-elect is to return to the nuclear deal with some amendments like the expiration of the agreement and more.”
A return to the deal would be a reversal of the Trump administration’s policy, which pulled out of the deal in 2018. President Donald Trump long called it “the worst deal ever.” His administration has reimposed sanctions on Iran.
A U.S. return to the Iran deal is perhaps the greatest fear of the Netanyahu government. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made it his highest priority to prevent the Iran nuclear deal, announced by the Obama administration in July 2015, from coming to fruition. It became a major point of contention between the U.S. and Israel.
After the 2015 agreement’s announcement, Netanyahu wasted no time in blasting it, calling it a “historic mistake.” He said the deal would lead to the opposite of what it intended, giving Iran the ability to produce numerous nuclear warheads – “an entire arsenal with the means to deliver it.”
“In the coming decade, the deal will reward Iran, the terrorist regime in Tehran, with hundreds of billions of dollars. This cash bonanza will fuel Iran’s terrorism worldwide, its aggression in the region and its efforts to destroy Israel, which are ongoing,” Netanyahu said.
Netanyahu was referring to the freeing up of Iranian monies frozen by sanctions. According to the Congressional Research Service, $1.7 billion in cash was transferred to Iran in 2016, flown in on jets. “The cash transaction was controversial even within the administration,” The Washington Post reported.
One of the main arguments of Netanyahu was that the Iranian regime hadn’t really changed. Its leaders continue to this day to call for the “total annihilation of Israel.”
While the deal was being negotiated, Netanyahu spoke on March 3, 2015 before a joint meeting of Congress against a possible agreement. He said, “Iran has proven time and again that it cannot be trusted.”
In Jan. 2019, Israel said the money sent to Iran helped the Islamic State finance terror in the region. Israeli Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon said at the time that Iran spent $7 billion a year funding its terror proxies.
“The Iranian regime’s obsession with Israel is not just well-known,” he said. “It is expensive. Seven billion dollars annually are directed toward the never-ending attempts to destroy Israel.”