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Israel Reportedly Seeks to Coordinate 'Plan B' Scenario With US If Iran Nuclear Talks Fail

© AFP 2022 / ABIR SULTANIsrael's Prime Minister Naftali Bennett attends the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem on August 1, 2021.
Israel's Prime Minister Naftali Bennett attends the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem on August 1, 2021.  - Sputnik International, 1920, 13.08.2021
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The Vienna talks on the revival to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) have stalled as Tehran welcomes a new administration after electing a new president, Ebrahim Raisi.
Tel Aviv is reportedly seeking to work with the United States on scenarios in the event of Tehran completely exiting the 2015 nuclear deal, Axios reported Thursday, citing Israeli officials familiar with a conversation between Israel's Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and CIA Director Bill Burns.
According to the report, the Israeli intelligence community has raised concerns that the possibility of Iran returning to the JCPOA deal after the election of its new president, Ebrahim Raisi, is declining.
A Wednesday meeting between Bennett and Burns, according to Axios, was a part of the preparations for a Bennet-Biden rendezvous scheduled for later this month in Washington. Burns reportedly shared skepticism voiced by the Israeli side regarding Iran's return to the JCPOA.
“It was important for the Prime Minister to make it clear that when we say we think it is a mistake to return to the 2015 nuclear deal, it is not an automatic continuation of the Netanyahu government’s policy and that we have a different approach", Axios quoted an unnamed Israeli official as saying.
Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid said on Wednesday that a possible "plan B" was being discussed with the US and "our European allies".
“I am not among the supporters of the 2015 nuclear deal but I don’t see any plan B [if Iran doesn’t return to the deal.] We are talking about it with the US and our European allies behind the scenes", he said, cited by Axios.
© REUTERS / POOLIsraeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett shares a joke with alternate Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Yair Lapid during the first weekly cabinet meeting of their new government in Jerusalem June 20, 2021.
Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett shares a joke with alternate Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Yair Lapid during the first weekly cabinet meeting of their new government in Jerusalem June 20, 2021. - Sputnik International, 1920, 07.09.2021
Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett shares a joke with alternate Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Yair Lapid during the first weekly cabinet meeting of their new government in Jerusalem June 20, 2021.

Tel Aviv's Scenarios For a Nuclear Iran

Israel has consistently mulled scenarios based on unproven claims that Iran intends to develop a nuclear weapon. In January, Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) chief Aviv Kochavi announced that he had ordered the military to come up with updated operational plans to thwart the possibility of an Iranian nuclear weapons program.
In February, according to Israeli media reports, government and military officials met to discuss a budget for the new plans.
After the election of Raisi, Tel Aviv's fears appeared to intensify, with the IDF reportedly requesting "billions of shekels" to prepare against what they claimed would soon be nuclear attacks from Iran and to “boost and preserve [IDF] Iran strike capabilities.”
© AP Photo / Vahid SalemiPresident Ebrahim Raisi, right, takes his oath as president, as Judiciary Chief Gholamhossein Mohseni Ejehi listens in a ceremony at the parliament in Tehran, Iran, Thursday, Aug. 5, 2021.
President Ebrahim Raisi, right, takes his oath as president, as Judiciary Chief Gholamhossein Mohseni Ejehi listens in a ceremony at the parliament in Tehran, Iran, Thursday, Aug. 5, 2021.  - Sputnik International, 1920, 07.09.2021
President Ebrahim Raisi, right, takes his oath as president, as Judiciary Chief Gholamhossein Mohseni Ejehi listens in a ceremony at the parliament in Tehran, Iran, Thursday, Aug. 5, 2021.
Reports emerged earlier in the month that alternatives to the return of the JCPOA are also being mulled in the US, suggesting that Washington is viewing "interim solutions" that could prevent Iran from advancing a purported nuclear program. 
Meanwhile, Tel Aviv continues to claim that Iran is on the brink of developing a nuclear weapon, accusing Tehran of breaching the JCPOA - a deal that Israel is not a party to.
While the Vienna talks on the nuclear deal continue to stall after the sixth round of negotiations wrapped up in late June, Iran's newly-elected President Raisi reportedly told his French counterpart, Emmanuel Macron, that the US and the EU must stick to their JCPOA obligations, outlining that Washington has repeatedly breached the nuclear agreement.
The 2015 nuclear deal was penned by Iran and the P5+1 group of countries (the United States, China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom - plus Germany), envisaging that Tehran would scale back its peaceful nuclear program in exchange for sanction relief and the lift of an arms embargo.
In 2018, however, the previous US president, Donald Trump, unilaterally withdrew Washington from the deal, prompting Tehran to step away from its JCPOA obligations.
Negotiations on a possible revival of the JCPOA began in the Austrian capital city in April 2021, with the latest round finishing on 20 June. Tehran said that the talks would resume after the inauguration of Raisi, which took place on 5 August.
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