Israeli, US officials meet amid concern over Iran’s aggression, deal ‘still within reach’

Nuclear deal “is still within reach if Iran makes that political decision to engage in good faith and to focus on the JCPOA itself,” Nides stated.

By Aryeh Savir, TPS

U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan and his Israeli counterpart Dr. Eyal Hulata led a meeting of the U.S.-Israel Strategic Consultative Group (SCG) Wednesday at the White House  that focused on Iran’s nuclear aspirations and its regional belligerence.

They were joined by senior representatives of their respective foreign policy, defense, and intelligence agencies.

The officials “committed to coordinate on efforts to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon and toward deterring Iran’s aggressive regional activities,” the White House stated after the meeting.

The teams also discussed “economic and diplomatic steps to achieve these goals” and reviewed ongoing cooperation between the American and Israeli militaries.

“The U.S. and Israeli officials committed that, working toward the same goal, they will remain in close coordination on the full range of issues of mutual interest and to remain united against all threats to their national security,” the White House said.

The meeting came as the talks in Vienna to revive the nuclear agreement with Iran are at a stalemate.

An Iran Foreign Ministry spokesman said Tuesday that the reason for the current pause in the talks is that the U.S. has not responded to Iran’s and Europe’s initiatives.

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In response, U.S. State Department Spokesperson Ned Price stated that “we and our European allies have made very clear we are prepared to immediately conclude and to implement the deal negotiated in Vienna for a mutual return to full implementation of the JCPOA, but it is ultimately up to Iran to decide to drop demands that go beyond the JCPO, and to engage in good faith. That is a choice that only Tehran will be able to make.”

“It is still within reach if Iran makes that political decision to engage in good faith and to focus on the JCPOA itself,” he added.

He may have been referring to Iran’s demand to remove its Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) from the U.S. Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTO) list, a demand the Americans have denied.

“That is our goal: to see to it that we put Iran’s nuclear program back in a box; to see to it that some of the advancements that Iran has been able to make in recent years are reversed; and to ultimately, most importantly, ensure that Iran is once again verifiably and permanently prohibited from and unable to acquire or produce a nuclear weapon,” said Price.