Israeli minister warns of war if Biden returns to Iran Deal
Democratic candidate for president Joe Biden’s position on the Iran Deal could lead to war between Israel and Iran, Settlements Minister Tzachi Hanegbi warned on Wednesday night.
“Biden has said openly for a long time that he will go back to the nuclear agreement,” Hanegbi said. “I see that as something that will lead to a confrontation between Israel and Iran.”
Hanegbi said he is not concerned about a likely Biden victory on most fronts, including the area of settlements, but Iran is a glaring exception.
The minister told Channel 13 News that he, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and most Israelis saw the Iran Deal signed by the Obama administration in 2015 – known formally as the The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action – as “mistaken – and that’s an understatement.”
“If Biden stays with that policy, there will, in the end, be a violent confrontation between Israel and Iran,” he stated.
Hanegbi said US President Donald Trump’s declared goal to negotiate a deal with Iran is not the same, because it would be “a different agreement that he would force through maximum pressure sanctions.”
Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee Chairman Zvi Hauser (Derech Eretz) took a more optimistic approach. Hauser was cabinet secretary during part of Biden’s tenure as vice president and said he knows Biden’s stances and that he is a true friend of Israel.
“I assume that even if the Iran Deal is renewed… it will be better than the previous one,” he told Army Radio on Thursday. “There is broad agreement that it had significant holes when it comes to the interests of the free world.”
Hauser said the Middle East has changed since Biden left office in 2016. “This is a Middle East in which Iran is much more dangerous, in which its weapons and technology are much more accurate and much deadlier… This is not just Israel’s problem, but the whole world’s problem.”
Though Biden and Trump may have different ways of reaching an agreement with Iran, Hauser said the result is what’s most important: “Is he restraining Iran and preventing it from getting nuclear weapons?”
Hauser argued that “today, everyone understands the agreement wasn’t enough to prevent” Iran from developing nuclear weapons, and “countries of the free world know this is their test” – to stop Tehran from doing so.
A nuclear Iran would trigger an arms race, in which Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Egypt would develop their own nuclear weapons, Hauser warned.
“No one sees Iran’s behavior, creating instability in the Middle East, and thinks it’s right to let them win,” he added. “Neither the Americans nor Israel will allow a nuclear Iran.”
Meanwhile, Knesset Speaker Yariv Levin told The Jerusalem Post that Trump’s loss would not be a factor in deciding when Netanyahu will initiate an election.
“I don’t think that would be the relevant consideration,” Levin said.
Gil Hoffman contributed to this report.