American delegation to work with Israelis on next steps to mitigate Iran nuclear threat, says unnamed official.
By World Israel News Staff
U.S. National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan is slated to touch down in Israel on Tuesday for meetings with Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and prominent Israeli officials to discuss the Iranian nuclear threat and other regional security issues.
Others visiting Israel as part of an American security delegation include U.S. envoy to the Middle East Brett McGurk and the State Department’s Acting Assistant Secretary for Near Eastern Affairs Yael Lempert.
After meeting with Israeli officials, Sullivan is expected to meet with embattled Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah.
The visit comes on the heels of stalled nuclear talks in Vienna, and growing calls from Israeli officials for the U.S. to either step up sanctions on the Islamic Republic or permit Israel to take non-diplomatic measures to counter the program.
The Jewish Press quoted an unnamed U.S. official as saying that while the Americans were interested in strengthening ties with Ramallah, the main purpose of the visit was creating a roadmap for next steps on Iran.
The delegation is planning to “talk about where we see the state of Iran’s nuclear program and some of the timelines,” the official said.
“It will be a good opportunity to sit down face-to-face and talk about the state of the talks, the time frame in which we are working, and to re-emphasize that we don’t have much time.”
They added that “time is running out” for the Iran nuclear talks in Vienna,” and “we will talk with the Israelis on what is going to happen in the coming weeks.”
Iran requested a pause in the negotiations last week. The move has worried Western powers, as it’s believed that the country is on the verge of successfully developing a nuclear weapon.
“There has been some technical progress in the last 24 hours, but this only takes us back nearer to where the talks stood in June,” negotiators from Britain, France and Germany, known as E3, said in a statement.
“We are rapidly reaching the end of the road for this negotiation.”
Earlier in December, Defense Minister Benny Gantz said in a press conference that “there is room for international pressure — political, economic and also military — in order to convince Iran to stop its fantasies about a nuclear program.”