US, Israel must jointly address Iran’s nuclear programme
With days left for President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration, Iran appears to be building a nuclear crisis in the Middle East region. The Iranian government recently announced that it has begun enriching its uranium to 20 percent level which is potentially close to the purity used in nuclear weapons. With this, Tehran is clearly in violation of its commitment to the nuclear deal (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action).Responding to Iran’s announcement, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had maintained that Jerusalem will not allow Tehran to develop nuclear weapons. This development resulted in escalating of tensions between Iran and Israel days before Biden is set to take the office.
Reportedly, Iran is seeking Biden to lift all sanctions imposed by President Trump over the past few years. Last week, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei called on Washington to immediately and unconditionally lift US sanctions on Iran. But, the incoming Biden administration must consider various factors before giving in on Tehran’s strategy of nuclear threats. In this regard, Biden and his team appear to have chalked out diplomatic objectives to handle Tehran. As Biden has vowed to negotiate the terms of Iran’s nuclear agreement, it is will interesting to see how things will unfold between Washington and Tehran for the deal.
Israel and its Sunni Arab allies have already urged President-elect Biden to not allow US’ return to the 2015 Iran nuclear deal. The United States withdrew from the deal in 2018, while remaining countries including China, Britain, France, Russia and Germany are still trying to keep it from breaking. As per media reports, the Israeli government is also seeking the Biden administration to retain economic sanctions on Iran as well.
However, in the backdrop, Tehran is building its nuclear arsenal in line with the legislation passed by the parliament setting up deadlines for its key nuclear steps. The deal seeking to limit Iran’s nuclear programme also could not stop Tehran from developing its ballistic missile programme and extending military support in Yemen, Syria, Iraq and Lebanon.With the new US presidency taking office, Israel is also focused on controlling Iranian activity. Biden and Netanyahu must work together to decide the fate of the nuclear programme and Iran’s nuclear strategies. Israel must also remember that there are high possibilities that Iranian provocations can push the Middle East against Tehran, particularly after the normalization of ties between Jerusalem and other Gulf Arab countries as part of the deal brokered by Trump last year.