Top Israeli officials are concerned that the United States is preparing to restart the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran without strengthening it, according to a new report.
Israeli officials were dismayed by an interview US Special Envoy for Iran Rob Malley conducted with PBS NewsHour on Friday in which he discussed returning to the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action without insisting on extending the period before that restrictions on Iranian nuclear policy be relaxed and then ended. according to the Jerusalem Post.
A senior Israeli official told the newspaper: “If this is American policy, we are concerned.”
Former President Trump announced the withdrawal of the United States from the Iran deal in May 2018.
The interview “raised eyebrows” among top Israeli officials, the source told the Jerusalem Post, because “in the past, the Biden administration spoke of a ‘longer and stronger’ deal, as if they were looking for something else, and that’s not [in the Malley interview]. It’s about going back to the 2015 agreement.
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“Nowhere in the full interview does Malley say that the goal is to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons,” the source told the newspaper. “Nowhere does he accuse the Iranians of any bad behavior … Nowhere in the interview does he speak of the importance of consultations with US allies in the region.
The source noted that restrictions on Iran’s nuclear activities will be lifted over the next decade. He said Malley was too solicitous of Iran, drawing an equivalence between the United States and the Islamic republic.
“He’s acting like he’s from the UN, saying that both sides distrust each other,” the official said.
“Is it fair to say that the burden is equal on both sides, or do you consider Iran to have the greater burden of proof here?” presenter Judy Woodruff asked Malley on Friday.
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“I don’t see it in any way. I think it’s a question of whether both parties can take the necessary steps to get back into compliance,” Malley said. He added: “When there is an understanding that both parties feel comfortable with, that is when an agreement is reached.”
The State Department could not immediately be reached for comment.