Despite the Biden administration’s decision to renegotiate with Iran on the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), known as the Iran nuclear deal, the government of Israel is adamant that the JCPOA only delays the Iranians from building nuclear weapons. Israel won’t allow that to happen as per its “Begin Doctrine” according to which it will strike preventively against any nuclear or weapons of mass destruction (WMD) capabilities its enemies possess.

The U.S. withdrew from JCPOA under the Trump administration.

The Israelis will act alone if necessary and are preparing to do so. They have made their intentions publicly known. Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Aviv Kochavi’s warning against a return to the 2015 nuclear deal and his declaration that he had ordered IDF to present additional plans for an offensive action to prevent the Iranians from acquiring a nuclear weapon is not a threat to be dismissed. 

The Iranians announced in January that they had ordered the enrichment of uranium to 20 percent — far beyond the 3.5 percent permitted under the JCPOA and just a small technical step away from the 90 percent needed for a nuclear weapon. Iran also said it was beginning research into uranium metal, a material that European powers stated had “no credible civilian use.”

“The production of uranium metal has potentially grave military implications,” the foreign ministers of Britain, France, and Germany said in a joint statement earlier this month. However, the Iranian government insists that it has no intentions of building a nuclear weapon, despite evidence to the contrary.

Although the Israelis rarely comment on actions they conduct against Iranian presence in Syria, LTG Kochavi admitted to hundreds of actions. He recently said Israel had struck more than 500 targets in 2020 “on all fronts in addition to multiple clandestine missions.”

The Iranians are entrenching themselves in Syria within the Assad regime as part of the ongoing civil war.

The Israelis have taken military action twice to prevent Iran from possessing nuclear weapons once by striking Iran in 1981 and then Syria in 2007.