Israel Says US ‘Very Considerate’ of Its Concerns on Iran Threat After Week of High-Level Talks
Israeli officials believe the Biden administration is more considerate of their security needs regarding Iran than when the 2015 nuclear deal was first reached, according a person familiar with a series of bilateral meetings that took place in recent days in Washington, DC.
“The talks were very positive,” the source told The Algemeiner. “The Americans and us have the common goal of preventing Iran from having nuclear military capabilities.”
On Thursday, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken met with Yossi Cohen, the head of Israel’s Mossad spy agency, and Israeli Ambassador to the US Gilad Erdan. That followed talks earlier in the week between US national security advisor Jake Sullivan and his Israeli counterpart, Meir Ben-Shabbat.
“We got the impression that the Americans are very considerate of Israel’s security,” the source told The Algemeiner on Thursday. “They’re holding the negotiations and they have that in their mind, and it’s very different from previous [negotiations] in 2015.”
The 2015 nuclear deal, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), was struck in 2015 by President Barack Obama, putting limits on Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief. In 2018, the Trump administration withdrew from the deal and reimposed sanctions, while Iran has repeatedly violated uranium enrichment caps and other limits on its nuclear program.
Talks to revive the accord between the US, Iran, China, Russia, Germany, France, and Britain resumed Tuesday in Vienna, Austria.
“We do not support going to the JCPOA, but we did get the impression that there is an understanding on the other side that Israel’s security has to be secured in other ways — regardless of what’s going on in Vienna — that Israel has the right to defend itself” the source told The Algemeiner.
“The conversation wasn’t limited just to the issue of the JCPOA,” the person said, citing other threats emanating from Iranian activities in the Middle East that concern both the US and Israel, such as the Islamic Republic’s support for the Houthi rebels in Yemen.
During the meetings on Tuesday between Sullivan and Ben-Shabbat, the US and Israel agreed to set up an inter-agency working group focused on the threats posed by Iran’s drone and precision-guided missile activities.
On Thursday, Israeli Intelligence Minister Eli Cohen publicly reiterated that Israel would not see itself bound by a “bad deal,” which he said would “send the region spiraling into war.”
“Anyone seeking short-term benefits should be mindful of the longer-term,” he told Reuters. “Israel will not allow Iran to attain nuclear arms. Iran has no immunity anywhere. Our planes can reach everywhere in the Middle East — and certainly Iran.”