There is cautious optimism in Jerusalem that Washington will not rejoin the 2015 Iran nuclear deal at least until after the U.S. midterm elections in November, a senior Israeli official said on Sunday.
In a briefing to reporters before Prime Minister Yair Lapid's departure to Germany, the official said that Israel was "able to persuade the Americans not to yield to Iran's demands."
"Round after round, we are in a very determined and consistent dialog in which all senior Israeli officials are on the same page regarding the nuclear deal. Most of this dialog is done behind closed doors and we feel that the Israeli policy is working."
The official also added that Iran proved it has no intention of returning to the previous agreement, which was abandoned by then-U.S. President Donald Trump in 2018, and it hopes to unwind international sanctions as well as ongoing probes into its nuclear program.
"The deal as laid before Tehran is not enough for it, and it demands more concessions, which is a big problem for Israel, that is the reason we keep objecting to it and convincing the U.S. not to accept it. Washington pledged to Jerusalem that it will not pressure to close the ongoing investigation of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). European countries promised the same, but Iran didn't accept it," he said.
"The U.S. also committed it will not grant Iran significant guarantees in the event it will withdraw from the agreement again. Iran didn't accept it. The U.S. also didn't promise it will lift the sanctions as Tehran wished, which Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali deems unacceptable. Thus, at least until after the midterm elections on November 8, there will be no signing."
The official further noted that Israel has a "clear understanding with the U.S., following dozens of talks with administration officials and Congress members. When we stress what is essential to Israel - the U.S. listens."
"At the current round of talks, we initiated a dialog with the White House. Former Mossad member and Israel's current national security adviser, Eyal Hulata, spoke with the White House daily over the past two weeks. In addition, Defense Minister Benny Gantz and Mossad Director David Barnea traveled to Washington. The whole dialog is very clear, and the goal is to make Israel's stance and red lines regarding the nuclear deal clear," he said.
"The Americans stated this dialog is vital to them as well, and they are pleased with the way it is conducted, despite its complexity. So far, it worked for Israel, and we intend to proceed on this course. However, we are still unrest, we don't see the light at the end of the tunnel just yet, and we don't feel there is a reason for celebration."