Israeli officials have made their opposition to the Biden administration returning to the Iran nuclear deal known. Some have even threatened a military strike on Iran if President Biden revives the deal, known as the JCPOA.
An Israeli source affirmed this to Breaking Defense in an article published on Monday. “Israel needs to know — and fast — whether Washington plans to stop Iran’s race to the bomb or take some action to do this,” the source said, speaking on the condition of anonymity.
The source said that Israeli intelligence is monitoring Iran’s nuclear facilities closely. Israeli airstrikes on Syria were also mentioned, which have ramped up in recent months. “This pressure will continue and grow, as a preparation for a direct attack on targets in Iran,” the source said of airstrikes in Syria.
Israel always claims its airstrikes in Syria hit Iranian targets, but they usually strike Shia militias. Last week, an Israeli airstrike hit Syria that reportedly killed four civilians and destroyed three houses.
Earlier this month, Tzachi Hanegbi, an Israeli minister from the Likud party, made the most direct public threat against Iran. Hanegbi said that if the US returns to the JCPOA that “Israel will again be alone against Iran” and will attack Iran’s nuclear program.
Breaking Defense, its source, and Haneegbi all push the narrative that Iran is racing towards a bomb when that is not the case. One example they use is the fact that Iran recently increased uranium enrichment to 20 percent, which is still vastly lower than the 90 percent needed for weapons-grade uranium.
Despite the hype, the 20 percent enrichment has a civilian purpose. It allows Iran to make fuel rods for its Tehran Research Reactor, a facility that was built by the US in the 1960s that can produce medical isotopes.
Another crucial piece of context left out of the Breaking Defense article is the reason why Iran started enriching uranium at 20 percent. Iran’s parliament passed a bill to increase enrichment after the November assassination of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, the prominent Iranian scientist who was killed in an apparent Israeli plot. So it was Israeli aggression that led to the increased enrichment.
Iran has maintained that it is willing to return to compliance with the JCPOA if the Biden administration lifts sanctions. Any more attacks from Israel could prevent Iran from decreasing enrichment levels.