Special Project: Leading Israeli Experts Analyze Nuclear Pact

While much of international attention is focused on the War in Ukraine, delegations from countries party to the negotiations with Iran are conveying in Vienna for what seems to be the final preparations ahead of signing a new agreement over the Islamic Republic’s nuclear activity.

In the background of the rising tensions between the US and Russia, the Biden Administration is determined to finalize the negotiations, while Moscow is eager to use the talks as a leverage over its position in light of global sanctions against it, thus delaying a deal, much to Tehran’s disappointment.

To understand its potential regional repercussions, the Jerusalem Press Club reached out to five leading Israeli experts in Iranian nuclear activity, each with rich defense backgrounds, for their analysis on the imminent agreement.

Interviews were conducted in the past week in Hebrew and translated for your convenience.

Yaakov Nagel

Former Head of Israeli National Security Council &
National Security Advisor to the Prime Minister

February 22, 2022

“The agreement with Iran will be very bad, much worse than the former one in 2015. Some of the limitations already expired…some will expire in the next years and then Iran’s path to a nuclear bomb will be clear.”

“Today the Americans also say that the breakthrough time is only months. But even this is only evasion time now. The Iranians can build secret underground sites, and no one will know about anything there. That’s our main problem.”

For the full interview, click here.

Helit Barel

Former Managing Director, Council for Peace and Security;
former Director, US-Israel Bilateral Desk, Israeli National Security Council 

March 6, 2022

“It is important to note that this failure to rollback the Iranian nuclear program has an effect not only on Israeli interests, but on those of many other players in the Middle East, who might be further incentivized to pursue their own independent nuclear capabilities, to counter the Iranian threat.”

“The current deal should constitute a first step for the Western signatories to pursue what the Biden administration named as a ‘longer and stronger agreement.’ If this is indeed the case, Israel must focus its efforts on shaping this next agreement and ensuring that its interests are reflected in it.”

For the full interview, click here.

Dr. Eran Lerman

VP, Jerusalem Institute For Strategy and Security; 
former deputy director for foreign policy and international affairs, National Security Council

March 1, 2022

“The respite would be short, and soon the ‘sunset clauses’ would open Iran’s path to the bomb once again. Therefore, the real question is what Israel can do to be truly prepared and use wisely the short time it may gain to ready viable options.”

Alongside our Gulf partners, the US will work with the Department of Defense to find robust ways to mitigate the consequences of the deal. For instance, there may be some significant acquisitions on the table for Israel.”

For the full interview, click here.

Dr. Amnon Sofrin

Visiting Lecturer, Hebrew University of Jerusalem; 
former Head of the Intelligence Directorate, Mossad

February 28, 2022

“Israel’s decision makers must bear in mind… that a military operation means launching a long and protracted struggle against Iran, alongside the direct involvement of Hezbollah from Lebanon, who will be firing rockets and missiles to Israel, and with the assistance of Hamas from the Gaza Strip.”

“We understand the coming agreement will not force Teheran to dismantle its facilities, and the combination together with the know-how process ensures that Iran will be able to go on with its plans for a nuclear bomb whenever it wants.”

For the full interview, click here.

Sima Shine

Head of Iran Program, Institute For National Security Studies; 
former Head of the Research & Evaluation Division of the Mossad

March 3, 2022

“When you look at the current bad situation, this agreement – which isn’t a good agreement – is better than no agreement at all.”

Israeli options might be limited. One must think that Israel would need to think twice before it conducts any preventative activity in Iran and against the Nuclear Program. I guess there will be further considerations that didn’t exist before the agreement.”

For the full interview, click here.