Gantz, Mossad chief to pressure US to attack Iran

Defense Minister Benny Gantz will follow Mossad Director David Barnea as part of a full-court press heading to the US on Thursday.

 PEOPLE PASS a mural of Iran's late leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini in Tehran (photo credit: NAZANIN TABATABAEE/WANA VIA REUTERS)
PEOPLE PASS a mural of Iran's late leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini in Tehran
(photo credit: NAZANIN TABATABAEE/WANA VIA REUTERS)

Mossad Director David Barnea will fly out to Washington on Sunday evening to attempt to convince the US either to engage in military action against Iran, to endorse Israeli covert action or to at least ramp up sanctions.

Given that the Biden administration has made it clear behind the scenes that it is nowhere near endorsing military action, the best-case scenario for Israel may be tougher sanctions.

Defense Minister Benny Gantz will follow Barnea as part of a full-court press heading to the US on Thursday.

The Vienna talks between the world powers and the Islamic Republic hit a low last Thursday with both the US and EU delegations declaring Tehran's demands to be extreme and accusing it of abandoning all of the understandings reached last spring toward a mutual return to the 2015 JCPOA nuclear deal.

American officials even said that China and Russia were taken aback by how hardline the Iranian demands were. 

Essentially, the Islamic Republic is demanding the removal of all sanctions, not just nuclear, which goes beyond even what the Obama administration conceded, while wanting to pocket and keep much of its nuclear progress it has made since mid-2019 with advanced centrifuges in violation of the JCPOA.

 President Isaac Herzog, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, and Mossad chief David Barnea presented certificates of excellence to twelve Mossad employees. (credit: CHAIM TZACH/GPO) President Isaac Herzog, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, and Mossad chief David Barnea presented certificates of excellence to twelve Mossad employees. (credit: CHAIM TZACH/GPO)

In a phone call between Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Thursday, the former said world powers must halt negotiations with and impose strict measures on Iran.

On Friday, Blinken himself said that the latest round of Iran nuclear talks ended because the Islamic Republic "does not seem to be serious."

On Thursday, the Mossad head stated that Israel's intelligence agency will thwart any attempts by Tehran to possess nuclear weapons.

"Iran will not have nuclear weapons – not in the coming years, not ever. This is my personal commitment: This is the Mossad’s commitment," Barnea said.Israeli President Isaac Herzog made a similar statement during a ceremony to accept US Ambassador to Israel Thomas Nides' credentials, stating Israel will act on its own if the international community fails to foil Iran's nuclear ambitions.

"If the international community does not take a vigorous stance on this issue—Israel will do so. Israel will protect itself," Herzog said.

Jerusalem Post Staff contributed to this report.