Jacob Nagel
Jacob Nagel
Photo: Marc Israel Sellem
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani visits one of the country's nuclear sites

Israel is not to blame for the failure of the Iran nuclear deal

Opinion: From the start, the 2015 international accord failed to accomplish the goals it set out to achieve, Jerusalem was merely one voice pointing out faults that today, more than five years later, are more than clear to all

Yaakov Nagal |
Published: 03.13.21, 23:28
No one can take away the miraculous achievements and years of devoted service to Israel's security of A., the outgoing deputy head of Mossad.
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  • On the other hand, I do not accept his position on Israel's uncompromising battle against the Iran nuclear deal as presented in an interview last week.
    5 צפייה בגלריה
    Iranian President Hassan Rouhani visits one of the country's nuclear sites
    Iranian President Hassan Rouhani visits one of the country's nuclear sites
    Iranian President Hassan Rouhani visits one of the country's nuclear sites
    (Photo: AFP)
    After all, A. had a crucial role to play in this effort, led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Mossad Director Yossi Cohen, the members of the National Security Council and other Israeli defense officials.
    Israel fought tirelessly to explain every fault, loophole and danger in the accord before it was signed, culminating in Netanyahu's 2015 address to Congress. With hindsight, the extent to which he was right it is undeniable.
    Israel and Mossad did all they could to persuade the U.S. to quit the agreement. Netanyahu's presentation of stolen archives from Iran's AMAD Project was just the push needed to convince then-president Donald Trump that the whole accord was based on lies and deceit and that he needed to walk away from it as soon as possible.
    Unfortunately, U.S. President Joe Biden's team is now working hard to return to this horrendous deal.
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    ראש הממשלה
    ראש הממשלה
    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu presenting the leaked Iranian archives of its AMAD Project
    (Photo: Orel Cohen)
    Israel and its allies are willing to enter an accord, but only if the problems with the 2015 deal are addressed. Returning to the original deal is simply impossible.
    Without getting into a blame game, I do not accept A.'s analysis. There are clear facts that show how the current situation differs to that of 2015, emphasizing why the deal should have not been signed then and why it should not be revisited today.
    One of these facts is Iran's advancement of its nuclear program since 2018, as well as new findings such as weapon development shown in the AMAD archive leak and in reports from the UN over the past two years. ‬
    For the signing of the deal to the American withdraw from it three years later, Iran has used every lifting of restrictions provided by the accord to push forward its uranium enrichment, bolster its technological capabilities and produce advanced centrifuges.
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    Iran's nuclear water reactor in Arak
    Iran's nuclear water reactor in Arak
    Iran's heavy water reactor at Arak
    (Photo: EPA)
    The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has stated that Tehran has yet to answer questions regarding weapon systems development that was brought to light in 2018 thanks to the archive leak.
    The continued production of advanced centrifuges (allowed by the 2015 deal) essentially let Iran go underground with its operations. It later emerged that the accord did not take into consideration the storage of materials and production methods, which led to a miscalculation in the time it would take Iran to reach a nuclear tipping point.
    Iran has managed to acquire the advanced technological methods needed for quick production of weapons-grade materials, regardless of what the 2015 deal said.
    Blaming Israel's conduct or Trump's withdrawal from the accord is absurd. As Netanyahu warned then and U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken is doing now, Iran is merely months or even weeks from the bomb.
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    U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken delivering a speech during the 46th Regular Session of Human Rights Council on Tuesday
    U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken delivering a speech during the 46th Regular Session of Human Rights Council on Tuesday
    U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken
    (Photo: AFP)
    A return to the 2015 deal will allow Tehran to install new advanced infrastructure at its covert facilities and obtain enough enriched uranium needed for the bomb. There is no way back to the old accord.
    The decision to halt the investigation into Iran's possible military assets as part of the deal was another huge mistake. Today it is clear that Tehran made sure that this clause was included.
    Findings today show that Iran's road to getting the bomb was far smoother than originally predicted. It is unsurprising that the IAEA did not discover this, given that they were simply unable to.
    The UN agency's strict inspections were the single most viable and effective tool of the deal, but Tehran's conduct over the past months and the shelving of a joint report by Germany, France and the UK show that even these inspections ultimately proved to be useless.
    That report was shelved to not hurt the possibility of Iran returning to negotiations with the United States.
    The Islamic Republic's violations did not just go against the 2015 deal, but against the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, jeopardizing the jurisdiction of the IAEA as a whole.
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    an Iranian clergyman stands next to missiles and army troops, during a manoeuvre, in an undisclosed location in Iran
    an Iranian clergyman stands next to missiles and army troops, during a manoeuvre, in an undisclosed location in Iran
    An Iranian clergyman stands next to missiles and troops at an undisclosed location in Iran
    (Photo: AP)
    As we all predicted, the deal failed, but not because of Israel, but rather because the accord failed to achieve the very goals it set out to accomplish.
    It is clear that the old deal cannot achieve those goals now. Recommendations on returning to it and upgrading it down the road are a serious misjudgment.
    Iran has no incentive to return to talks after it was gifted such a broken and one-sided deal.

    Brig. Gen. (res.) Prof. Jacob Nagel is a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD) and visiting professor at the Technion Aerospace Engineering Faculty. Nagel was a civil servant official (IDF, Defense Ministry and Prime Minister’s Office) for over 40 years, including a stint as national security advisor to the prime minister.

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