President Joe Biden’s national security adviser told his Israeli counterpart on Tuesday that diplomacy is the best way to rein in Iran’s nuclear program, even as he reaffirmed Biden’s warning to Tehran that talks fail. If so, Washington can turn to other options.
Biden’s senior aide Jake Sullivan hosted Israeli national security adviser Eyal Hulta for the talks, which, according to a US official, helped the two allies to share intelligence and develop a “baseline assessment” of the progress of Tehran’s nuclear program. given a chance.
Under a 2015 deal, Iran halted its uranium enrichment program, a potential route to nuclear weapons, in exchange for the lifting of economic sanctions. The then US President Donald Trump abandoned the deal in 2018 and the Israeli government resisted US efforts to revive it.
US experts believe that the time it took Iran to achieve a nuclear “breakout”, uranium enriched enough to build a nuclear bomb, has gone from “about 12 months to a period of about a few months” since Trump pulled out of the agreement, the U.S. The official previously said on condition of anonymity.
Israel’s regional arch enemy Iran has consistently denied that it is developing an atomic bomb.
In Tuesday’s talks, Sullivan emphasized “President Biden’s fundamental commitment to the security of Israel and ensuring that Iran never gets a nuclear weapon,” the White House said in a statement.
Mr. Sullivan explained that this administration believes that diplomacy is the best path to achieve that goal, while also noting that the president has made clear that if diplomacy fails, the United States will seek other options. ready to turn.”
Sullivan’s words echoed the message Biden delivered to Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett during a White House meeting in August.
Tuesday’s meeting of the US-Israel Strategic Advisory Group, which included military, intelligence and diplomatic officials, came amid stalled international diplomacy with Iran.
Western powers have been trying for weeks to get Tehran to commit to resuming indirect talks with the United States in Vienna. Talks have stalled since June after hardline cleric Ibrahim Raisi was elected Iran’s president, and Tehran is unclear about when it might return to the table.
US officials have declined to specify what action might be considered if diplomacy with Iran fails.
Asked if this includes military options, the senior US official, who briefed reporters ahead of Tuesday’s talks, said only that “we will be ready to take the necessary measures.”
Some officials and analysts have said Tehran’s halt is an attempt to win more concessions when talks finally resume, including to advance its uranium enrichment program.
Bennett, a far-right politician who ended Benjamin Netanyahu’s 12-year term as prime minister in June, has made it clear that he wants Biden to toughen his stance against Iran, which Israel considers an existential threat. admits.
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