The recent escalation in the “shadow war” between Israel and Iran suggests that, like it or not, the Biden administration’s efforts to revive the 2015 Iran nuclear deal are not sustainable without support from Israel and its Gulf allies, namely Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
If Israel continues attacking Iran after Biden revives the old deal – as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has recently suggested Israel will do – Iran might decide to abandon the deal, declare war on Israel, or even go ahead and develop nuclear weapons in response. Also, securing follow-on agreements to limit Iran’s ballistic missile arsenal or its proxy war activities would become all but impossible. None of these outcomes is desirable. To avoid them, Biden must go big by striking a deal that eases Israeli and Saudi fears that Iran might get the bomb even after signing a deal, and Iranian concerns that Israel might continue to attack Iran even if Tehran agrees not to stockpile any more enriched uranium.