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 As the Vienna talks progressed, Israeli pressure increased in Washington to block a return to the nuclear agreement with Iran

The Israeli efforts aimed at obstructing the Biden administration’s pursuit of a disciplined return to the nuclear agreement are not limited to one front or one goal. Rather, these efforts are expanding to include official moves by its senior officials, in addition to the efforts of its informal lobbies.

With the news of the progress of indirect negotiations that Iran is conducting with the United States through the member states of the nuclear agreement, efforts are doubling in the American capital, Washington, to block any expected return of the latter to the agreement from which former President Donald Trump's administration withdrew in mid-2018.

The ongoing efforts to obstruct Washington's return to the nuclear agreement are not limited to the hawks of the Republican Party, as Israel and its powerful lobbies in the American capital are making parallel efforts to display the negative consequences for Washington's expected return to the nuclear agreement.


So far, the American and Iranian delegations have not held any direct talks between them openly in the Austrian capital, and have content with the mediating role played by the rest of the other parties, namely Germany, France, China, Britain and Russia.


The head of the Russian delegation in the negotiations stated in a tweet that, "After two weeks of discussions regarding the re-implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (the official name of the nuclear agreement), we can accept with satisfaction that the negotiations have entered the drafting stage."

For his part, Aaron David Miller, a former State Department official, questioned the return of President Joe Biden's administration to the nuclear agreement without direct negotiations between the two countries.

"If Iran and the United States are really serious, they will find a way to make indirect negotiations direct, as it is difficult to imagine an agreement otherwise," Miller said in a tweet.


If Iran and the US are really serious they’ll find a way to make indirect negotiations direct. Hard to imagine an agreement otherwise https://t.co/I7v9ESlmXp

- Aaron David Miller (@ aarondmiller2) April 16, 2021


What is in return for Washington's return to the nuclear agreement?

Opponents of Washington's return to the nuclear agreement repeat the saying, "What should Iran pay in return for Washington's return to the nuclear agreement and the lifting of the sanctions imposed by the previous administration on Iran."


Some observers estimate that the Trump administration imposed between 1,200 and 1,600 penalties on various Iranian economic, financial and commercial activities, in addition to sanctions against foreign countries and institutions due to its relations with Iran.

In an interview with Fox News yesterday, Jake Sullivan, the US National Security Adviser, refused to go into details of what the United States would demand in return for the lifting of sanctions on Iran, but he said, "Trust in Iran to fulfill the obligations is essential."


"The United States will not lift the sanctions unless we have clarity and confidence that Iran will fully return to fulfilling its obligations under the agreement," Sullivan said, adding that "Iran will stop its nuclear program, reduce the level of enrichment and the scope of enrichment, and until we have confidence in all these matters, the states The United States will not make any concessions whatsoever. "

Israeli efforts on various fronts

The Israeli efforts aimed at obstructing the Biden administration’s pursuit of the controlled return of the nuclear agreement are not limited to one front or one goal. Rather, these efforts expand to include official moves by its senior officials, in addition to the efforts of its informal lobbies.


Last week witnessed the holding of virtual meetings for the strategic dialogue between Israel and the United States. A statement issued by the White House included the Biden administration’s unwavering commitment to Israel's security and to ensuring that Iran would never acquire a nuclear weapon.

Israeli National Security Adviser Meir Ben Shabat, in addition to Mossad chief Yossi Cohen, is expected to visit Washington, DC, in the coming days, in a move aimed at directly convincing senior White House and intelligence officials that Iran is hiding details about its nuclear program and thus cannot be trusted.

 Tehran had announced the start of uranium enrichment to the level of 60%, to approach the levels required to obtain a nuclear weapon, after the Natanz nuclear facility was subjected to a cyber attack, which is widely believed to be behind Israel.

For its part, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), the largest Israeli-American lobby organization, is trying to persuade Biden not to return to the nuclear deal. Last month, AIPAC coordinated the preparation of a letter signed by dozens of members of Congress from both parties, the Republican and the Democrat in the House of Representatives and the Senate, urging the Biden administration to insist on a broad agreement that includes Iran's missile program, human rights files and Iran's activities in the region.

Christians United for Israel, one of the strongest pro-Israel evangelical organizations in the United States, is also making a vigorous effort to pressure members of Congress to reject any future agreement with Iran. The organization tweeted after the attack on the Natanz nuclear facility that "Israel will definitely do whatever is necessary to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear bomb."


The Biden administration distanced itself from the attack that occurred last week on the Natanz facility, which left the impression that it was not satisfied with the Israeli actions.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has repeatedly expressed his concerns about the nuclear talks. He said recently that Israel would not be bound by any agreement between the United States and Iran, hinting that the Vienna talks would not prevent Israel from continuing its operations against Iran.

At the same time, Republican hawks are working in Congress to block any possible return to the nuclear deal, including lifting some sanctions on Iran. A number of Republican members will submit a bill entitled "The Maximum Pressure Act."

The text of the draft appeared in a tweet by the Axios website correspondent Aliana Train, in which she said, "A committee of Republican members intends to announce (the maximum pressure law) that will expand the sanctions imposed on Iran, and aims to prevent the United States from re-joining the Iranian agreement, and the foreign minister will participate." Previous Mike Pompeo tomorrow, Wednesday, at the sponsorship event. "

The Republican Study Committee says they’ll announce their "Max Pressure Act" - which would expand the sanctions on Iran and aim to prevent the U.S. reentering the Iran deal - this Wednesday alongside Mike Pompeo pic.twitter.com/9Ukta6UL17

- Alayna Treene (@alaynatreene) April 19, 2021


For his part, Rich Goldberg, a former Iran file official at the National Security Council and now an expert at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, said in a tweet that this project extends to imposing sanctions on multinational companies working with Iran.

He warned in a tweet that "this new legislation is an important message not only for the Biden administration, but for multinational companies, and it is a strong reminder that any sanctions relief Biden offers will be temporary, and there is still a great risk in signing any contracts with Iran."

Message not just to Biden administration but to C-suites of multinational corporations. A strong reminder that any sanctions relief provided by Biden will be temporary; Significant risk in signing contracts remains. https://t.co/s2fCS02Ny5

Richard Goldberg (@rich_goldberg) April 19, 2021


Dissenting Israeli voices

Despite the official Israeli position opposing Washington's return to the nuclear deal, Matan Vilnai, former deputy chief of staff of the Israeli army and Tamir Bard, former director of Israeli intelligence, Mossad between 2011 and 2016, expressed their support for the Biden administration's return to a new agreement with Iran that would be "longer." And stronger, "as it addresses issues that include the Iranian missile program as well as Tehran's destabilizing behavior in the Middle East region.


In an article published on the Foreign Policy website, the two Israeli officials emphasized that “pursuit of these long-term goals should not be allowed to delay or compromise the immediate goals of preventing an Iranian breakthrough to reach nuclear weapons and restoring a strong surveillance system, which can be achieved in the first stage of the plan. Joint comprehensive action that is being revived, "known for short the nuclear deal

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