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Israeli officials urge Biden: Keep up sanctions on Iran or risk nuclear arms race in Middle East

Jerusalem sending clear messages to DC that rejoining the nuclear deal could trigger a 'nightmare' scenario

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem on Jan. 7, 2021. (Photo: Koby Gideon/GPO)

Israel is running a full-court press on the incoming Biden administration urging the U.S. to keep up full pressure on Iran and not rejoin the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, commonly known as the Iranian nuclear deal.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned that America’s maximum pressure campaign on the Iranian regime “must be continued to prevent Iran from continuing its campaign of aggression and terror throughout the region and to prevent Iran from rushing to a nuclear arsenal.”

“If we just go back to the JCPOA, what will happen and may already be happening, is that many other countries in the Middle East will rush to arm themselves with nuclear weapons,” Netanyahu insisted during a meeting today with outgoing U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin in Jerusalem. "That is a nightmare and that is folly. It should not happen."

Iran has violated the terms of the JCPOA and has started just this week enriching uranium to levels beyond the limits of the 2015 nuclear agreement, which the U.S. entered into under former President Barack Obama.

Back in October, analysts warned that Iran was just three months away from having enough enriched uranium to produce a nuclear bomb and already had enough for two nuclear bombs while also developing long-range missiles.

The United States withdrew from the agreement under President Donald Trump in 2018 and then sought to impose crippling sanctions on the regime.

Mnuchin stopped in Israel on his way back from Khartoum, during which Sudan time formally joined the Abraham Accords.

Meanwhile, Israel’s Intelligence Minister Eli Cohen sent a “very significant message to the President-elect Joe Biden.” 

“Look at the last 12 years. The eight years of Obama’s tenure did not lead to any regional political achievements,” he said in an interview on Wednesday with i24NEWS. “In comparison, during President Trump's four years in office, there was determined activity against Iran.”

“Iran is the No. 1 sponsor of terror in the world today. It transfer funds to Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Hezbollah and other elements,” he noted. 

“So if you want to maintain regional stability, if you want to advance further peace agreements, it is important that the policy vis-à-vis Iran continues,”  he said.

Cohen was referring to Israel’s peace agreements with the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Sudan and Morocco, which were brokered by the Trump administration and added that Israel is currently “in touch with six or seven additional countries, in Africa, in the Gulf and in East Asia. Arab and Muslim countries.”

Israel and the Gulf states, including Saudi Arabia, have formed a tacit alliance against Iran.

"They understand that the State of Israel is their partner, their partner in regional stability, a partner in a strong and significant security coalition," he added.

“If the U.S. policy continues, without a doubt we will see more peace agreements,” he stressed.

Nicole Jansezian is the news editor for both ALL ISRAEL NEWS and ALL ARAB NEWS and senior correspondent for ALL ISRAEL NEWS

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