Mossad Director David Barnea left on Monday for Washington DC to hold a series of meetings with top officials from the White House, CIA Director William Burns, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Pentagon and the State Department to try to halt the reportedly impending Iran nuclear deal.
Barnea has marked himself as the Israeli security establishment’s most aggressive critic of the deal, a line that Prime Minister Yair Lapid has mostly adopted, though some members of the security establishment believe “no deal” would be worse than a return to the 2015 JCPOA.
Israel is at least consistent
The spy chief’s visit is part of a string of senior Israeli officials who have been campaigning to block the deal.
Last week, Defense Minister Benny Gantz and National Security Council Chief Eyal Hulata met in Washington with Biden administration officials.
Lapid spoke to Biden by phone last week after needing to campaign to get phone time with the US President, and has been using Barnea as an apolitical security expert to publicly pressure the US as of late.
On August 25, The Jerusalem Post and other outlets were given access to the substance of Barnea’s briefing to Lapid in which he criticized the United States for rushing into a terrible deal.
In the briefings, Barnea said that a new nuclear pact with Iran would not block his agency from acting against the Islamic Republic in the future to protect Israel’s security interests.
“Israel is not signed on to the deal. Israel is permitted to defend itself any way possible — and will act this way. We cannot sit quietly and just watch as the danger grows closer,” Barnea, who took up his post in June 2021, told Lapid and other Israeli officials at the time.
“Israel is not signed on to the deal. Israel is permitted to defend itself any way possible — and will act this way. We cannot sit quietly and just watch as the danger grows closer.”Mossad Director David Barnea
It seemed his feeling that a new deal was imminent had led him to push harder with his views which are also expected to be relayed to the US.
Part of the message Lapid seems to be using Barnea to convey is how serious Israel is about continuing to hit Iran even if a deal is signed.
On the other hand, Lapid has rejected calls from former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu to get into a full-fledged battle with the Biden administration through anti-Iran voices in congress and US media outlets.