Israel, US hold secret meeting over ‘Plan B’ on Iran, if talks fail

Western powers have expressed concern that the time for negotiations is running out, as Iran’s nuclear program is expanding beyond the limits set by the original deal.

By Tobias Siegal, World Israel News

Israel and the U.S. have held secret discussions in the past week over a “Plan B” in case talks with Iran over its nuclear program fail, Axios first reported.

One of these meetings was reportedly held between U.S. national security adviser Jake Sullivan and his Israeli counterpart, Eyal Hulata, via a secure video conference call.

The Israeli side noted the importance of developing a “Plan B” regarding the Iranian threat as diplomatic talks with Tehran have reached a stalemate and the regime’s nuclear program only seems to be accelerating, the report noted.

According to an Israeli official cited by Axois, the U.S. said it was also concerned about Iran and would impose additional sanctions on Tehran if the talks do not resume soon.

The U.S. “remains engaged in ongoing consultations with the Israeli government on a range of issues related to the challenge posed by Iran,” a White House spokesperson told Axios.

On Tuesday, Iran signaled that negotiations would resume in the upcoming weeks but did not specify an actual date, Iranian news agency IRNA reported.

Negotiations held in Vienna over Iran’s nuclear agreement were cut short following the election of Ebrahim Raisi as president in mid-June and have not resumed since.

Months later, Western powers have expressed concern that the time for negotiations is running out, as Iran’s nuclear program is expanding beyond the limits set by the original deal.

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas warned on Thursday that the West was losing its patience. “The clock is ticking. We’re not going to wait two or three months for the Iranian delegation to come back to the table in Vienna,” he said, according to France24.

Washington indicated on Thursday that it was prepared to be patient, while considering other contingency plans in case Tehran does not cooperate, Reuters reported.

“We’re still interested. We still want to come back to the table,” a senior U.S. State Department official was cited by Reuters as saying. “The window of opportunity is open. It won’t be open forever if Iran takes a different course,” he added.

“The ‘Plan B’ that we’re concerned about is the one that Iran may be contemplating, where they want to continue to build their nuclear program and not be seriously engaged in talks to return to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.”