Israel is planning to ask the United States to carry out military strikes against Iran amid the reported slowdown in Vienna talks between the signatories of the defunct Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA - also known as the Iran nuclear deal), according to Israeli Channels 12 and 13, citing anonymous sources.
Iran Urges Nuclear Deal Parties To Decide On Sanctions Lifting
The reports indicated that the proposal would be made by Israeli Defence Minister Benny Gantz and Mossad's head, David Barnea, when they visit Washington soon.
According to the broadcasters, the Israeli officials will present the idea as a potential "Plan B" to be activated if Vienna's talks fail to achieve their purpose. The two officials will also reportedly urge Washington to place more sanctions on the Islamic Republic.
The broadcasters said that the proposed strikes would not be targeting Iran's nuclear sites but other facilities instead. Channel 12 suggested it could be Iran's alleged base in Yemen, the existence of which Tehran has denied in the past. The channel further suggested such an attack might alter Iran's stance at the negotiating table.
Reports of how Israel plans to lobby the U.S. regarding Iran come as talks in Vienna aimed at restoring the Iran nuclear deal enter their second week. Participants failed to reach an agreement on terms last week, even though Tehran presented two drafts of the agreement last Wednesday.
Last weekend, media reports suggested that the U.S. and European countries became frustrated with these proposals as Iran allegedly backtracked on many of its promises in previous rounds of talks.
Iran snapped back at claims insisting that all of its proposals from last week are "fully negotiable." Iranian Foreign Ministry's spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh called on the signatories of the JCPOA to stop playing "a blame game." "We are waiting naturally to hear the other side's opinion concerning these texts and whether they have a real counter-offer to make to us in writing," Khatibzadeh said.
The 2015 nuclear agreement was jeopardized when the U.S. withdrew from it in 2018 and introduced sanctions against Iran. A year after the U.S. withdrawal, Tehran started to drop its JCPOA commitments in response to Washington's actions, gradually increasing uranium enrichment and stockpiling nuclear fuel above permitted levels.
Both Tehran and the U.S.—under the new administration of Joe Biden – expressed a willingness to resurrect the 2015 deal. However, neither party has agreed on the terms of compliance.
Iran insists on an instant return to the JCPOA with the text that existed in 2015, without any additions, which means that the U.S. should lift all sanctions and not impose additional restrictions against Tehran. Washington, however, demands Iran stop enriching uranium and return to compliance and then will proceed to a gradual softening of sanctions without ever necessarily lifting them.