Israel to send Mossad chief to talk Iran with Biden

Mossad chief Yossi Cohen expected to discuss Iran’s nuclear program with President Joe Biden and incoming CIA director William Burns

By Paul Shindman, World Israel News

The director of Israel’s Mossad spy agency will be heading to Washington next month to outline Israel’s concerns about Iran’s nuclear program to American leaders, Channel 12 reported Saturday.

Yossi Cohen, who is closely trusted by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, is expected to meet with President Joe Biden and incoming CIA director William Burns and will present both of them with a list of issues surrounding Biden’s stated goal to return the U.S. to the 2015 Iran nuclear deal that Israel had vehemently opposed.

President Donald Trump pulled out of the deal in 2018 and slapped harsh economic sanctions on the Islamic Republic over its continuing military involvement across the region and support of terrorism.

During the election campaign, Biden said he would work to return to the deal but was unclear as to whther he would make any new demands of Iran, which recently began enriching uranium to 20% purity. This step by the Iranians is seen as moving closer to having a stock that could be quickly enriched to weapons grade in order to produce atomic bombs.

Cohen will lead a delegation of officials from Israel’s foreign and defense ministries who will be bringing the latest Israeli intelligence on Iran’s nuclear ambitions in order to influence the American decision makers.

For Israel to support a U.S. return to a renewed nuclear deal with Iran, government sources told Channel 12, there are six demands, starting with an Iranian commitment to halt uranium enrichment and stop making more centrifuges. Another demand is for Iran to comply fully with inspections by the UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency and allow inspectors into all of its nuclear facilities.

Under the 2015 nuclear deal, the U.S. negotiators agreed to an Iranian demand that allows Iran to delay “surprise” nuclear inspections for 24 days, a decision harshly criticized by opponents to the deal as allowing Iran to effectively hide any nuclear work they are doing.

Israel also wants Iran to stop attacking Israeli targets abroad and to be blocked from supporting terror groups, especially Hezbollah in Lebanon, which parrots Iran’s calls for the destruction of Israel.

Israel is also demanding Iran withdraw its forces and stop interfering militarily in Syria, Iraq and Yemen.

Middle East security analyst Raz Zimmt of the Institute for National Security Studies at Tel Aviv University said there was little chance the Israeli demands would be accepted by the Biden administration, let alone Iran.

“I doubt the credibility of this report, but if it’s really true, there’s no need for Yossi Cohen to travel to the U.S.. Israel could just ask the new administration to go back to Pompeo’s 12 demands (and good luck with that!),” Zimmt tweeted, referring to Pompeo’s May 21, 2018 speech that offered Iran a series of dramatic potential U.S. concessions if it agreed to make “major changes” to the nuclear deal.