(Israel/Iran/USA) Israeli Policy on Iran vis-à-vis the Biden Administration (Shimon Stein, Shlomo Brom, INSS)

Once President-elect Biden enters the White House, Israel will have to work with a president whose policy on Iran is expected to differ from that of the Trump administration. Both the incoming and outgoing administrations have made an identical fundamental commitment: to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons. Beyond this, however, they disagree about how to achieve the goal, and how to deal with the Iranian missile program and other negative elements of Iranian conduct in the region, which were not addressed in the JCPOA. For the President-elect, the initial step is a return to the JCPOA and the lifting of sanctions on Iran, to be followed by negotiations on other issues, while leveraging the possibility of renewing sanctions and even taking military action. Instead of souring relations with the new administration and plunging into a confrontation that is bound to fail (as occurred during the Obama administration), Israel should not oppose the Biden administration’s policy. Rather, it should engage in dialogue with the administration to influence the agenda of the negotiations following the US return to the deal, while insisting that the highest priority is on preventing Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons, even at the expense of other issues.