Iran nuclear deal plan causes concern for Israel

Zahra Khan, World/Business Editor

While the Ukrainian conflict is in full swing, the Biden administration maintains its goal of restoring the 2015 Iran nuclear deal as the highest foreign policy priority. 

In July of 2015, Iran, alongside the United States, France, the United Kingdom, China, Russia, and Germany came to an agreement known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. According to the business insider, the goal of the JCPA was “to restrict Iran’s ability to develop Nuclear Weapons in exchange for lifting economic sanctions against Tehran.” As a result of this deal being put into place, Iran agreed to reduce its number of centrifuges (machines that contributed towards enriching Uranium) by two thirds, and gave access to inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency (the UN’s agency). However, under the Trump Administration, the United States withdrew the United States from the pact in 2018. As reported in the Business Insider, the Trump administration unsuccessfully made a move to “squeeze Iran into negotiating a more stringent version of the deal with harsh economic sanctions as part of a ‘maximum pressure campaign.’” As a result of the withdrawal, there were many sanctions imposed on Iran from America that devastated Iran’s economy, prompting the country to rebuild nuclear technologies. According to the New York Times, Biden hopes to reignite the new deal in hopes of proving America’s “recommitment to international agreements that were cast aside by Donald J. Trump.”

There has been large forms of criticism both within the United States, and from other countries in response to the restoration of the nuclear deal.  According to AP News, Israeli prime minister Naftali Bennet expresses concerns saying “the emerging deal, as it seems, is highly likely to create a more violent, more volatile Middle East,” Additionally, Israel felt the deal gave Iran a pathway to still create missiles as these conditions would only be held for a temporary amount of time. As highlighted in AP News, a second point in the list of Israel’s concerns include if sanctions become eased, then “billions of dollars in now-frozen assets to be released, Iran would spend more on arming and funding its proxies across the region.” 

However, reviving this deal could raise a series of problems and concerns. In terms of actually moving forward with this plan, it may take a while considering the Biden administration and Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi have been in no hurry to negotiate considering the amount of opposition both parties are facing. The second major issue could be the Israeli-Iranian conflict may escalate after Israel’s attacks on Iran- and Iranian-aligned groups located in Syria have grown since 2015. Additionally, Israel has resumed its attacks on Iranian nuclear sites, up until news of negotiations to revive the deal began back during April 2021.