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.