Sep 12, 2022 - World

Mossad chief: Nuclear deal won't give Iran "immunity" from Israeli operations

Director of Mossad, David Barnea during an August 2021 meeting in Tel Aviv, Israel.

Mossad director David Barnea. Photo: Amos Ben Gershom/GPO/Handout/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Mossad director David Barnea said at a counterterrorism conference Monday that the Israeli spy agency will continue its operations against Iran even if a nuclear deal is signed.

Why it matters: The Israeli government is opposed to a U.S. return to the 2015 nuclear deal. President Biden told Prime Minister Lapid the U.S. won't tie Israel's hands and prevent it from acting against Iran if a nuclear deal is reached.

What they're saying: "Even if a nuclear deal is signed, it will not give Iran immunity from the Mossad operations," Barnea said. "We won't take part in this charade and we don't close our eyes to the proven truth."

  • He added that Iran's leadership must understand that any direct or indirect attack against Israel or against Israeli citizens will be answered with "a painful retaliation" against those responsible.
  • "We will not go after the proxies but against those who gave them the orders, funded them and armed them, and we will do it on Iranian soil," Barnea said.

The other side: A spokesperson for Iran's Foreign Ministry responded to Barnea's comments in his daily press briefing, saying: "We do not expect [from] a terrorist regime anything other than terrorist actions."

State of play: The indirect negotiations between the U.S. and Iran through European Union mediators on restoring the 2015 nuclear deal entered a stalemate again after the Iranian government's latest response was described by American officials as a step backwards.

  • France, Germany and the U.K. issued a joint statement on Saturday stressing they had serious doubt about the Iranian government's intentions and commitment regarding the return to the nuclear deal after the latest Iranian response.
  • A senior Israeli official said in a briefing with Israeli reporters on Sunday that Israel's government believes that no nuclear deal is going to be signed before the U.S. midterm elections on Nov. 8.

What's next: The International Atomic Energy Agency board of governors is convening on Monday in Vienna to discuss the Iranian nuclear program.

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