Two cabinet ministers who participated in the meeting told me that the head of Israeli military intelligence told the ministers at the security cabinet meeting on Sunday that if Iran’s nuclear negotiations reached an agreement, rather than collapse without an agreement, Israel’s situation would be better.
Why is it important: Although Israel strongly opposes the 2015 nuclear agreement and Prime Minister Naftali Bennett continues to take a tough stance on diplomacy with Iran, Major General Aharon Khaliva’s statement reflects the broader thinking of Israel’s defense agencies change.
Get market news worth your time with Axios Markets. Free subscription.
Driving news: Haliva, who was appointed as the head of the military intelligence department in October last year, told the Cabinet that the agreement reached in Vienna will serve Israel’s interests because it increases the certainty of restrictions on Iran’s nuclear program and will buy Israel more time. Prepare to upgrade the scene.
Haliva is responding to a briefing by Mossad director David Barnea on the annual intelligence assessment of the spy agency.
According to the two ministers who participated in the meeting, Barnia expressed reservations about whether reaching an agreement is in Israel’s interests, and said that there is still time to influence the US position in Vienna.
“This is not a failed business. It is worth spending time and energy in dialogue with the Americans,” Barnia told the ministers.
Behind-the-scenes: Israeli officials said that until recently, the prevailing assessment in Jerusalem was that Iran was just passing the time in Vienna, but now it seems more likely to reach an agreement.
What to see: The two ministers who attended the cabinet meeting stated that the consensus is that even if an agreement is reached in Vienna, Israel should avoid publicly criticizing the Biden administration for this.
What’s next: In a briefing with reporters on Monday, Lapid said that Israel will continue to engage with the Biden administration and other world powers to influence the parameters of a possible nuclear agreement. Rapid said: “We are now in a trench battle to improve the transaction.”
More from Axios: Sign up to get the latest market trends from Axios Markets. Free subscription