‘Unexpected Zionists’: Israelis in Vienna make last ditch effort to trash nuclear deal

Israelis have already met with IAEA chief Rafael Grossi and Russia’s envoy to the talks.

By David Hellerman, World Israel News

With Iranian nuclear talks in Vienna appearing to be in the final stages, Israel dispatched a diplomatic delegation to air Jerusalem’s concerns about the emerging agreement.

The delegation is headed by Yosh Zarka, the head of Israel’s Foreign Ministry’s strategic division. Also in Vienna is David Nussbaum, who is Israel’s Ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency and Gil Reich, Deputy Director-General for Israel’s Atomic Energy Commission.

According to Hebrew media reports, members of the delegation have already met with IAEA Director-General Rafael Grossi and Russia’s envoy to the Iran nuclear talks, Ambassador Mikhail Ulyanov.

They plan to meet with all the other delegations represented in Vienna: the European Union, U.S., Britain, France, Germany and China, though not Iran.

Iran’s state-run Nour News expressed its displeasure with the arrival of the Israelis on Twitter.

“Unexpected presence of Zionists in Vienna is undoubtedly a deterrent to progress of #ViennaTalksalks in current situation,” Nour News said. “Dialogue between representatives of #Israel with [Grossi and Ulyanov], with any purpose, is a step toward playing destructive role of this regime.”

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.

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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 is 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.