Israeli commander says U.S. return to Iran nuclear deal would be ‘wrong’

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Jan. 27 (UPI) — A top Israeli military official says it’s not a good idea for the United States to rejoin the Iran nuclear deal, and added that Israel’s military is drawing up new contingency plans to deal with Tehran.

In a speech Tuesday at Tel Aviv University’s Institute for National Security Studies, Israeli Lt. Gen. Aviv Kochavi said U.S. President Joe Biden‘s intention to return to the 2015 agreement is dangerous.

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Kochavi in his remarks pointed to increasing Iranian aggression, including recently announced plans to enrich more uranium, as an example of Tehran’s interest in obtaining nuclear weapons.

“A return to the 2015 nuclear agreement, or even if it is a similar accord with several improvements, is bad and wrong from an operational and strategic point of view,” Kochavi said.

“In light of this fundamental analysis, I have instructed the Israel Defense Forces to prepare a number of operational plans, in addition to those already in place,” Kochavi added. “It will be up to the political leadership, of course, to decide on implementation but these plans need to be on the table.”

Iran said Tuesday that the Biden administration has a “small window” of time to rejoin the landmark Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, which restricted Tehran’s nuclear activities in exchange for sanctions relief. The pact was signed by Iran, the United States, Britain, Germany, France, Russia and China.

Former President Donald Trump withdrew the United States in 2018 and imposed new sanctions, and Tehran returned to violating parts of the agreement.

Biden has said he intends to rejoin the accord, which is designed to prevent Iran from taking the scientific steps to developing nuclear weapons. Tehran was complying with the terms of the agreement until Trump’s withdrawal.

On Wednesday, Antony Blinken told reporters during his first press availability since being sworn in as U.S. secretary of state that if Iran returns to full compliance under the JPOA, so would the United States.

“But we are a long ways from that point,” he said. “Iran is out of compliance on a number of fronts. And it would take some time, should it make the decision to do so.”