America’s Rejection of the Nuclear Deal Didn’t Get Iran Closer to Developing the Bomb

In an interview in the Israeli press, the recently retired deputy head of the Mossad—that is, the person not picked to take over from the outgoing director—opined that Israel’s situation vis-à-viz Iran is worse now than it was in 2015. The former intelligence officer, known only as “A,” went on to criticize Jerusalem’s handling of the nuclear threat from the Islamic Republic, asserting that the ayatollahs would be further from getting the bomb if Prime Minister Netanyahu had not encouraged the U.S. to reject the 2015 nuclear deal. Jacob Nagel, a former Israeli national-security adviser, disagrees:

From the signing of the deal to the American withdrawal from it three years later, Iran has used every lifting of restrictions provided by the accord to push forward its uranium enrichment, bolster its technological capabilities, and produce advanced centrifuges. . . . The continued production of advanced centrifuges (allowed by the 2015 deal) essentially let Iran go underground with its operations. It later emerged that the accord did not take into consideration the storage of materials and production methods, which led to a miscalculation in the time it would take Iran to reach a nuclear tipping point.

Blaming Israel’s conduct or President Trump’s withdrawal from the accord is absurd.

A return to the 2015 deal would allow Tehran to install new advanced infrastructure at its covert facilities and obtain enough enriched uranium needed for the bomb. There is no way back to the old accord.

As [its critics] predicted, the deal failed, but not because of Israel, but rather because the accord failed to achieve the very goals it set out to accomplish. . . . Recommendations on returning to it and upgrading it down the road are a serious misjudgment.

Read more at Ynet

More about: Benjamin Netanyahu, Iran nuclear program, Israeli Security, Mossad, US-Israel relations

The IDF’s First Investigation of Its Conduct on October 7 Is Out

For several months, the Israel Defense Forces has been investigating its own actions on and preparedness for October 7, with an eye to understanding its failures. The first of what are expected to be many reports stemming from this investigation was released yesterday, and it showed a series of colossal strategic and tactical errors surrounding the battle at Kibbutz Be’eri, writes Emanuel Fabian. The probe, he reports, was led by Maj. Gen. (res.) Mickey Edelstein.

Edelstein and his team—none of whom had any involvement in the events themselves, according to the IDF—spent hundreds of hours investigating the onslaught and battle at Be’eri, reviewing every possible source of information, from residents’ WhatsApp messages to both Israeli and Hamas radio communications, as well as surveillance videos, aerial footage, interviews of survivors and those who fought, plus visits to the scene.

There will be a series of further reports issued this summer.

IDF chief Halevi in a statement issued alongside the probe said that while this was just the first investigation into the onslaught, which does not reflect the entire picture of October 7, it “clearly illustrates the magnitude of the failure and the dimensions of the disaster that befell the residents of the south who protected their families with their bodies for many hours, and the IDF was not there to protect them.” . . .

The IDF hopes to present all battle investigations by the end of August.

The IDF’s probes are strictly limited to its own conduct. For a broader look at what went wrong, Israel will have to wait for a formal state commission of inquiry to be appointed—which happens to be the subject of this month’s featured essay in Mosaic.

Read more at Times of Israel

More about: Gaza War 2023, IDF, Israel & Zionism, October 7