As a resurgence of the Iran nuclear deal appears imminent, Defense Secretary Benny Gantz announced on Tuesday that he will travel to the United States later this week for a series of meetings with US defense officials.
Earlier on Tuesday, Gantz said Israel was in contact with both the US and regional countries about talks to restore the Iran nuclear deal, amid reports of recent progress in talks.
“We will do everything possible to effectuate the agreement,” Gantz said during a faction meeting of his National Unity Party.
Noting that Israel would not be a party to either agreement, he said the Jewish state “will know how to maintain its freedom of action as needed.”
Soon after, Alternate Prime Minister Naftali Bennett issued what he described as a last-minute appeal to US President Joe Biden not to sign a renewed Iran nuclear deal.
“The agreement will send nearly a quarter trillion dollars to the pockets of the Iranian terrorist administration and its regional proxies and will enable Iran to develop, install and operate centrifuges with virtually no sanctions,” Bennett wrote. Twitter.
He said that previously, “even when it was very close,” Israel had convinced the White House not to “give up to the Iranian demand” and hoped it would do the same again.
“One way or another, the State of Israel is not a party to the Agreement. Israel is not committed to any sanctions arising out of the Agreement and will use all available means to prevent further progress of the Iranian nuclear program.
Since resigning as prime minister, Bennett has largely maintained a low profile on the national political scene, issuing few public statements since leaving office.
A US official said on Tuesday that Iran has recently “made concessions on important issues”, and sparked speculation that a deal between Tehran and world powers is closer than ever. The official said Iran has agreed to drop demands to halt some UN nuclear inspections.
Gantz will fly to Florida on Thursday morning and meet with US Central Command chief Michael Eric Kurilla at the command’s headquarters.
His office said there he would receive a briefing on the “operational aspects of cooperation” between Israel and Centcom.
CENTCOM officially assumed responsibility for US military relations with Israel in September last year. Until then, Israel was placed under the responsibility of the European Command (EUCOM) to prevent potential tensions between CENTCOM and the Arab and Muslim countries under its purview, many of which did not maintain formal relations with Israel and So do not want to be considered mutually cooperative.
In recent years, however, CENTCOM’s Arab allies have developed relations with Israel somewhat informally, so the issue has largely faded.
Kurilla was in Israel last month for his second official visit to Israel since becoming commander of CENTCOM in April.
Gantz’s office said the defense secretary will also meet with US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan in Washington on Friday before leaving for Japan on Saturday night for an official visit.
National Security Adviser Iyal Hulta was also in Washington this week to hold several meetings with US officials on Iran’s nuclear program and the deal.
A 2015 agreement between Iran and six world powers – Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the United States – gave the Islamic republic relief from sanctions in exchange for sanctions on its nuclear program.
The deal was created to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons – something it has always denied doing.
But in 2018, then US President Donald Trump, a staunch critic of the deal, unilaterally pulled out and imposed heavy sanctions on Iran.
Earlier this month, after more than a year of coordinated talks by EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell and his team, the bloc called it the “final” proposed text – which has not been made public – to revive the agreement. For.
“Iran responded by saying ‘yes but’, meaning they want some adjustments,” Borrell told TVE on Tuesday.
Israel believes that Iran wants to build an atomic bomb, and has reportedly taken sabotage actions within the Islamic republic to delay the development of such a weapon.
Iran denies any nefarious intent and claims its program is designed for peaceful purposes, although it has recently been enriching uranium to a level that international leaders say has no civilian use. Not there.
Two major obstacles reportedly remain if Tehran wants to return to the deal: Iran is seeking to end the International Atomic Energy Agency’s investigation into its nuclear program, and the possibility of the US reneging on the deal. Wants to guarantee cover. Future.