Dermer: Israeli leaders united in opposing Iran deal

Israel’s Ambassador to the US suggests Israeli political and defense leaders are now united in opposing the 2015 nuclear deal.

Ben Ariel ,

Ron Dermer
Ron Dermer

Israel’s Ambassador to the US Ron Dermer suggested on Wednesday that Israeli political and defense leaders are now united in opposing the terms of the 2015 Iranian nuclear deal.

Dermer made the comments in a conversation with Ambassador Dennis Ross at the United Against Nuclear Iran annual summit in New York.

“Today you cannot find security and intelligence officials in Israel — I’m not aware of any of them — that would go back to the exact same deal,” the Israeli ambassador said, according to the Jewish Insider. He noted that in the past some former high-level government and security officials had indeed expressed support for the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), as the Iran nuclear deal is officially called.

“The United States has got enormous leverage, and I think the idea of going back into the same deal with Iran, it gives them a clear path to nuclear weapons,” he explained.

Asked if Israel’s position on Iran would change if a national unity government is formed following last week’s election, Dermer said that “any new government” would continue to support Israel’s longstanding opposition to the JCPOA and be in favor of economic pressure on Iran “to ensure that: A, that Iran never gets nuclear weapons, and B, that everything is done to roll back Iran’s aggression.”

The ambassador also noted that Blue and White leader Benny Gantz said earlier this year at the Munich security conference that there was no difference between him and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on the topic of Iran.

In 2015, Gantz struck a softer tone when he said that the nuclear deal “could have been better”, but also said it had some positive aspects to it.

Dermer said on Wednesday that Israel “could live with” a new nuclear deal negotiated by the US — but only if it addressed the sunset clause.

“The one problem that you have to address is you have to prevent Iran from ever being a military nuclear power. And if you have a sunset clause, that’s a date certain for when you want to would be a military nuclear power, and that has enormous consequences for our region,” he stated, according to the Jewish Insider.

Netanyahu is one of the longtime opponents to the Iran nuclear deal, from which the US withdrew last year.

Dermer recently urged the United States to “stay the course” and increase pressure on Iran. Those comments came amid reports of a possible meeting between President Donald Trump and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.

Such a meeting does not look like a possibility at the moment, as Trump last week said he would prefer not to meet Rouhani, while the Iranian President himself made clear that he will not meet Trump unless all sanctions against Tehran are unilaterally lifted by the US.