An American policy shift on Iran could lead to war between Israel and Tehran, Settlement Minister Tzachi Hanegbi warned on Wednesday night, speaking to Channel 13 News.
“[Democratic candidate for president Joe] Biden has said openly for a long time that he will go back to the nuclear agreement,” Hanegbi said, referring to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action President Donald Trump withdrew from in 2018.
“I see that as something that will lead to a confrontation between Israel and Iran.”
Hanegbi said he is not concerned about a likely Biden victory on most fronts, including the area of Israeli settlements, but the Iran nuclear deal is a glaring exception.
The minister said that he, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and most Israelis, saw the Iran Deal signed by the Obama administration in 2015 as “mistaken, and that’s an understatement.”
“If Biden stays with that policy, there will, in the end, be a violent confrontation between Israel and Iran,” he stated.
Hanegbi said President Donald Trump’s declared goal to negotiate a deal with Iran is not the same, because it would be “a different agreement that he would force through maximum pressure sanctions.”
Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee chairman MK Zvi Hauser (Derech Eretz) was more optimistic. Hauser said he knows Biden’s stances and that he is a true friend of Israel.
“I assume that even if the Iran Deal is renewed … it will be better than the previous one. There is broad agreement that it had significant holes when it comes to the interests of the free world,” he told Army Radio on Thursday.
Hauser said the Middle East has changed since Biden left office in 2016: “This is a Middle East in which Iran is much more dangerous, in which its weapons and technology are much more accurate and much deadlier…. This is not just Israel’s problem, but the whole world’s problem.”
Though Biden and Trump may have different ways of reaching an agreement with Iran, Hauser said the result is what’s most important: “Is he restraining Iran and preventing it from getting nuclear weapons?”
A nuclear Iran would trigger an arms race, in which Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Egypt would develop their own nuclear weapons, Hauser warned.
“No one sees Iran’s behavior, creating instability in the Middle East, and thinks it’s right to let them win,” he added. “Neither the Americans nor Israel will allow a nuclear Iran.”