Prime Minister Yair Lapid showed the German chancellor “sensitive” intelligence information concerning Iran's nuclear program on Monday, which a diplomatic official claims was one reason the U.S. administration recently adopted a tougher stance toward Iran.
“We presented information that proved that the Iranians are cheating as we speak,” the source said, adding that Lapid only showed information that was carefully corroborated beforehand. “We didn’t play around with this. We gave intelligence that is clearly verified,” he said, but declined to reveal any details about what was shared with the Germans.
According to the source, “Israel always has a military option. We will do what we think is right when we think it is right to do it. We don’t need to get permission or to announce when we are going to act.”
The source emphasized that European governments are also taking a tougher stance against Iran because they are concerned by its warming ties with Russia; Europe is wary of Iran's recent drone sale to the Kremlin.
While Lapid's visit to Germany has been rife with customary ceremonies, including a visit to the site of the Nazi's Wannsee Conference on Monday, the looming Iran deal has figured prominently behind the scenes.
During the one-on-one meeting German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Lapid reportedly expressed the importance of continuing the fight against the Iranian nuclear program, saying that "returning to the agreement under current conditions would be a mistake," adding, "We must act together against the growing threat of Iran becoming a nuclear state. It's time to move past failed negotiations."
Lapid also met with Germany's chancellor and foreign minister later Monday and discussed the regional and security challenges posed by Iran.
Ahead of Lapid's departure on Sunday, an Israeli diplomatic official said that despite major disputes between Iran and Western powers, Israel believes the agreement with Iran has not been taken off the agenda completely.
Germany, France and Britain released a joint statement on Saturday, which doubted Iran’s intentions with regard to the agreement and urged it to cooperate with the International Atomic Energy Agency into the open investigations against it.
The official added that he believes that the agreement might only come to fruition after the midterm election in the United States in November. Israel is now working, mainly behind the scenes, with senators and Congress members in an attempt to persuade them to support its positions on the matter.
“We believe that there is a better agreement than this one,” the official said adding that if the signing of the agreement is postponed until after the midterms, opponents of the agreement might be able to achieve a majority in Congress and make it more difficult for the U.S. administration to approve it. “It’s too early to know what will happen in the midterms. We will work well with any make-up,” he said.
But while intelligence reports indicate that Iran’s uranium enrichment efforts could allow it to reach a sufficient quantity to manufacture one nuclear bomb within a few weeks, Israel believes that Iran does not want to move ahead to this stage and that it doesn’t have the means to manufacture and use a nuclear bomb.