The United States and Israel must jointly resolve Iran’s nuclear programme
With days left to inaugurate President-elect Joe Biden, Iran appears to be developing a nuclear crisis in the Middle East region. Recently, the Iranian government reported that it has started enriching its uranium to a degree of 20 percent that is theoretically equivalent to the purity used in nuclear weapons.Tehran is therefore explicitly in breach of its pledge to the nuclear agreement (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action).
In response to Iran’s announcement, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that Jerusalem would not allow nuclear weapons to be produced by Tehran. This development led to tensions between Iran and Israel escalating days before Biden was expected to take office.Iran is currently calling for Biden to lift all sanctions levied by President Trump in recent years. Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei last week called on Washington to lift US sanctions on Iran immediately and unconditionally.
But, before giving in to Tehran’s nuclear threat policy, the incoming Biden administration must weigh different factors. Biden and his team seem to have chalked out diplomatic targets to control Tehran in this regard. As Biden has promised to discuss the terms of Iran’s nuclear agreement, it will be important to see how the deal will unfold between Washington and Tehran.
Israel and its Sunni Arab allies have already called on President-elect Biden not to allow the return of the United States to the Iran nuclear deal in 2015. In 2018, the United States withdrew from the pact, although remaining nations such as China, Britain, France, Russia and Germany are still seeking to prevent it from fracturing.The Israeli government is also asking the Biden administration to maintain economic sanctions on Iran as well, according to media reports.
In the context, however, Tehran is building its nuclear arsenal in line with parliamentary legislation setting deadlines for its main nuclear measures. Furthermore, an agreement aimed at restricting Iran’s nuclear programme could not prevent Tehran from expanding its ballistic missile programme and extending its military assistance to Yemen, Syria, Iraq and Lebanon.
Israel is also focused on monitoring Iranian activity, with the new US presidency taking office. Biden and Netanyahu need to work together to assess the fate of Iran’s nuclear programme and nuclear policy.Israel must also note that Iranian provocations are highly likely to drive the Middle East toward Tehran, particularly following the normalisation of relations between Jerusalem and other Gulf Arab countries as part of last year’s deal brokered by Trump.