Photo Credit: Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90
Mossad chief David Barnea in Yad Vashem, April 27, 2022.

The position of Mossad chief David Barnea, who claims that the emerging nuclear agreement between the world powers and Iran would be a “strategic disaster,” and that everything must be done to convince the US to avoid it, has recently become the dominant position in Israel’s security establishment, Ma’ariv’s popular columnist Ben Caspit reported Tuesday morning (בצל ההערכות כי איראן קרובה לחתימה: מערכת הביטחון מאוחדת נגד הסכם הגרעין).

Meanwhile, National Security Advisor Dr. Eyal Hulata’s scheduled meeting with Secretary of State Antony Blinken was canceled, and he is meeting instead with Blinken’s deputy, Wendy Sherman. This snub might attest to the administration’s eagerness Barnea has been warning about, to get the deal signed once and for all.


Caspit cites a “very senior political source” who told him that “almost the entire top of the security system is now aligned with this position of Barnea.”

“The Mossad’s approach has won,” the source reiterated, “mainly in light of the fact that the West, led by the Americans, recently surrendered to the Iranians in almost all areas. For them, the main thing is to sign the agreement and take the issue off the agenda. The ones who will remain with this issue on the agenda are us because Iran will receive a ‘license to kill’ and hundreds of billions of dollars that will be invested in terrorism and regional expansion.”

Mossad Director David Barnea, appointed by then Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in 2020, was the deputy of former Mossad chief Yossi Cohen both in operational missions and at the helm of the agency, and his views on Iran represent a shift from the position on the deal that was promoted by their predecessor, the late Meir Dagan. Dagan supported President Obama’s 2015 nuclear agreement with the Iranians, suggesting that the economic benefits that would come Iran’s way following the deal would usher it into the global community. He believed Iran was ruled by rational leaders, and that, while Israel must never take its finger off the trigger when it came to its approach to the Islamic Republic, Prime Minister Netanyahu was making a big mistake by fighting the White House so openly on the subject.

Needless to say, those are no longer the prevailing views in Mossad, and Barnea’s approach to the Iran deal appears to have won the endorsement of the security apparatus in Israel. This is the reason behind the hasty dispatch of NSA Hulata to Washington, where he is meeting with senior administration officials. Prime Minister Yair Lapid has also recently increased his attacks on the Iran deal, delivering harsh messages on this issue to President Emmanuel Macron and Chancellor Olaf Schulz.

There are many things wrong with the latest deal, most notably the fact that Iran is getting away without an investigation of the IAEA’s open cases of its violations of the 2015 deal. Barnea’s position is that the new deal essentially allows Iran an exit point in two and a half years when it could restart its nuclear program, this time with international consent. Remember President Joe Biden’s promise Iran won’t have a nuclear device on his shift? He may be right. The device will become a reality under his successor.

Barnea, too, is on the record as promising to do everything in his power to deny Iran a nuclear capability. He may repeat his vow in the coming days. Israel will not be able to prevent the world powers from signing the deal, but it can do what it does best: speak very loudly and carry a very big stick.


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