Israel's Mossad has sent a chilling message to Iran with a warning that the Islamic Republic "will never have nuclear weapons." Though not part of the nuclear deal, which is currently being renegotiated by Iran and the US, Israel has gone to great lengths to undermine efforts by the major powers to reach an agreement.
As delicate negotiations were underway in Vienna, Israeli Prime Minister, Naftali Bennett, asked the US to "immediately halt" the process while accusing Iran of resorting to "nuclear blackmail" as a tactic.
Bennett's demand was followed in the evening with a message from the chief of Israel's Mossad, David Barnea. Israel will do "whatever it takes" to make sure Iran never develops a nuclear weapon, said the 56-year-old who took charge of the intelligence agency thought to be behind several assassinations of Iranian officials.
Iran "will not have nuclear weapons, not in the coming years, never," Barnea said at a ceremony for Mossad employees in Jerusalem, alongside Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and President Isaac Herzog.
"Mossad's commitment," is to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear warhead Barnea pledged. "Together with our colleagues in the defence establishment, we will do whatever it takes to keep the threat away from the State of Israel, and thwart it in any way."
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Iran's top diplomat, Foreign Minister, Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, has said that an agreement to revive his country's nuclear deal with world powers was "within reach" but that this depended on the goodwill of the West.
The talks aimed at reviving the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and several world powers – Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the United States – resumed on Monday after Iran paused them in June following the election of President Ebrahim Raisi.
Former US President, Donald Trump, unilaterally walked away from the deal painstakingly stitched together by his predecessor, Barack Obama. The decision, widely seen as reckless, was urged on by his secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, and Israel's Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu.
Trump's rash decision backfired. Pro-Israeli hawks now admit that it "was one of the dumbest, most poorly thought out and counterproductive US national security decisions of the post-Cold War era".
In addition to the lifting of sanctions, Iran is seeking safeguards that no US administration would be able to unilaterally withdraw from the accord in the future. The fear in Tehran is that another Republican President will take up of the idea of punishing Tehran from where Trump's clique left of.