Israel's national security adviser to meet US counterpart amid 'campaign' against Iran nuclear deal: report

Israel's national security adviser to meet US counterpart amid 'campaign' against Iran nuclear deal: report
Israel's Meir Ben Shabbat has reportedly been instructed to present Israel's opposition to reviving the Iran nuclear deal.
2 min read
26 April, 2021
Ben Shabbat's meeting with his US counterpart will reportedly last several hours [AFP]

Israel’s national security adviser will travel to Washington for a meeting with his US counterpart amid a push by Tel Aviv to pressure Washington not to return to the Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal, Israel Hayom reported on Monday.

The meeting between Israel's Meir Ben-Shabbat and America's Jake Sullivan will take place at the Israeli Embassy and will last "a few hours", according to the news website. The report said the meeting appears to be aimed at sharing "physical information" that cannot be relayed online.

Ben Shabbat's trip will reportedly be separate to the one to be undertaken by the head of Mossad, Yossi Cohen, who will convene with CIA chief William Burns and other senior officials in the US intelligence community.

An unnamed official who spoke to The Times of Israel said the officials had been instructed to "present Israel's opposition to the agreement." They added that if Iran opted for a new agreement, then Israel would declare its position on the agreement's "characteristics and content", without elaborating.

Read more:  Iran seemingly denies Saudi talks, while Israel fears US return to nuclear talks

In a press briefing on Friday, White House Press Secretary Jenny Psaki rejected the idea that the visits would impact the Biden administration’s position on reviving the nuclear deal.

The accord with Iran was abandoned by former President Donald Trump who reimposed crippling sanctions. Tehran responded by gradually abandoned key pledges under the deal and ramping up nuclear enrichment.

Since April however, US and Iran have been indirectly negotiating Washington’s re-entry into the deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JPCOA).

Describing progress in the Vienna talks as encouraging, Psaki added that Israel had been and would continue to be kept "abreast, as a key partner of these discussions".

Israel is suspected as having been behind an attack on Iran's key nuclear facility of Natanz earlier this month, with public radio reports in Israel saying it was a sabotage operation by the Mossad spy agency.

In response, Iran boosted uranium enrichment by 60 percent. This brings the country closer to the 90 percent purity threshold for military use and shorten its potential "breakout time" to build an atomic bomb – a goal the Islamic republic denies.

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