Ron Dermen, Secretary Blinken & Tzahi Hanegbi in March (Photo: U.S. Dept. Of State)

It seems that Israel is unable to prevent the Biden administration from getting closer to a new nuclear agreement with Iran. The Minister of Strategic Affairs, Ron Dermer, and the head of the National Assembly, Tzachi Hanegbi, took off Wednesday for meetings in the United States on the subject and it is unclear what, if any achievements they will return to Israel with based on the reports that American is holding a Saudi peace deal over Israel's head in exchange for silence on a new Iran deal.

It appears that the meetings of the two in the US will focus on two critical issues: the Biden administration's renewed pursuit of an agreement with Iran and also the possibility of advancing a normalization agreement with Saudi Arabia. The US seeks to calm the Middle Eastern arena in the face of Iran's relentless pursuit of enriching uranium to a level approaching 90% and distance it diplomatically from the target. Therefore, in the face of Israel's possible opposition to this type of agreement, and the fact that the possibility of an Israeli attack on Iran has never been off the table; revisiting the possibility of promoting a normalization agreement between Israel and Saudi Arabia in return, seems to be the strategy the Biden administration is going for.

While the Biden administration has never said it is desperate for a diplomatic solution with Iran, they do want to delay Iran as much as possible from reaching the 90% enrichment level, at a price it sees as negligible. A loose interim agreement and partial removal of the sanctions that will allow the infusion of billions into the failed Iranian economy will likely be the agreement.

Danny Citrinowicz, an associate researcher in the Iran Program at the Israeli Institute for National Security Studies, confirmed that Biden officials are interested in the agreement. "Politically, Biden can't go back to the original agreement because he simply won't be able to approve it in Congress," he says. "But the American administration is still very worried that Iran is one step ahead of enrichment at the 90% level, so they need to 'tighten the screws' so that the Iranian regime does not come to this. On the other hand, the Iranians want to return to the agreement because they need relief from the oil sanctions, this is the most significant for them."

The former head of the National Assembly, Meir Ben Shabat, who currently serves as the head of the Institute for National Security and Zionist Strategy, describes this agreement as a ‘caving agreement’. According to him, "an agreement that leaves Iran close to a nuclear threshold state, frees up funds for it, and enables its strengthening is bad."

It should be noted that the agreement between Saudi Arabia, Israel, and the US is also tainted with problematic aspects for Israel. Hanegbi has already expressed Israel's concern about the weapons systems that Saudi Arabia is demanding as part of the normalization before he took off to the US.

Sign Up For The Judean Newsletter

I agree with the Terms and conditions and the Privacy policy