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Report: Israel Tells US It Will Not Compromise on Iran’s Nuclear Program in Exchange for End to Regime’s Entrenchment in Syria and Lebanon

avatar by Benjamin Kerstein

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wears a protective face mask as he delivers a joint statement with US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin in Jerusalem January 7, 2021. Photo: Emil Salman/Pool via REUTERS.

Senior Israeli security officials have told their US counterparts that they will not compromise on their insistence that Iran be deprived of nuclear weapons, even if such concessions might bring an end to Iranian entrenchment on Israel’s northern border and elsewhere, Israeli news site Walla reported Thursday.

According to the report, Israel’s security establishment is concerned that — rather than confront the nuclear issue directly — the US may attempt to first reach a compromise with Iran on the Islamic republic’s malign activities in the region.

These include Iran’s support for Syrian dictator Bashar Assad and the Lebanese terror group Hezbollah, along with its attempt to entrench itself on those countries’ borders with Israel.

Israel has long been fighting what the IDF calls “the war between the wars” against this entrenchment, including massive numbers of air strikes and other operations against Iranian assets in Syria.

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Iran also foments unrest and sponsors terrorism in Yemen, Iraq, Gaza, and outside the Middle East.

Walla reported that the latest message to the US was sent by Israel’s intelligence agencies, and said that Israel insists absolutely on preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons, which Israel regards as an “intolerable existential threat.”

There should be no linkage between the issue of ending Iran’s regional criminality and ending its nuclear program, the Israelis insisted.

The Israeli security establishment is pursuing this line because it believes that, if Iran achieves nuclear capability, it will have the leverage to engage freely in regional meddling as it likes, making the issue a moot point.

The Israeli officials also reportedly again made clear to the Americans that they believe a return to the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran would be a mistake. The US was said to agree, acknowledging the weaknesses of that agreement and pledging that a new deal would put permanent end to Iran’s nuclear program.

In addition, the Israelis warned the US that a nuclear Iran could spark a regional arms race, with several other countries rushing to acquire the bomb in order to counter Iran’s capabilities.

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