Israel bracing for ‘spectacularly bad’ nuclear agreement

Washington reportedly acknowledged to Israel that Iran is ‘nuclear threshold state,’ blames Trump for withdrawing from previous accord.

By David Hellerman, World Israel News

Jerusalem is bracing for the US and Iran to strike a “spectacularly bad” nuclear agreement in the coming days, Israel’s Channel 13 reported on Friday.

An unidentified Israeli security official said the agreement emerging from Vienna will be worse than the original JCPOA agreement — “spectacularly bad” — because it doesn’t take into account Iran’s nuclear gains since 2018, when the U.S. withdrew from the agreement.

According to Channel 13’s source, the new agreement will not obligate Tehran to destroy its advanced centrifuges. Although Iran will have to lower its uranium enrichment levels and stop producing uranium metal, Tehran now has the capability to do so in the future.

“In essence, it is an agreement that leaves Iran as a nuclear threshold state,” Channel 13 said.

The report also said that Washington has acknowledged to Israel that Iran is a “nuclear threshold state” in terms of uranium production and blamed former President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from the JCPOA for Tehran’s advances.

U.S. officials reportedly stressed to Jerusalem that failing to revive the JCPOA would leave the Iranians weeks away from accumulating the materials needed for a nuclear bomb, as opposed to months away under the terms of the current negotiations.

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Israel’s primary concern with the emerging nuclear deal is that it will give Iran less than a year of breakout time. Unconfirmed reports indicate the agreement will set the amount of time Tehran needs to produce the amount of highly enriched uranium needed for a nuclear bomb to four to six months.

While uranium needs to be only 3.67 percent pure to generate nuclear power, Iran has enriched its uranium stockpile to 60%, a degree of purity that no country without an atomic weapon has pursued. A nuclear bomb requires uranium to be enriched to 90% purity.

Israel also fears that a premature lifting of sanctions will enable Tehran to boost its support for its terror proxies across the Middle East.

The controversial Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) of 2015 promised Iran economic incentives in exchange for limits on its nuclear program. Former president Donald Trump withdrew the U.S. from the agreement in 2018. Negotiating a return to the nuclear agreement has long been a key foreign policy goal of U.S. President Joe Biden.

Israel, the Gulf states and Saudi Arabia oppose an American return to the JCPOA agreement.