January 18, 2022

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US official meets with Israeli PM on Iran nuclear deal talks

Jake Sullivan called for a ‘common strategy’ as world powers continue to negotiate new nuclear deal.

United States National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan met Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, calling for a “common strategy” as world powers continue to negotiate a new nuclear agreement with Iran.

Bennett meanwhile warned during the Wednesday meetings that negotiations in Vienna on Iran’s nuclear programme had “profound ramifications” for Israeli security.

Bennett’s government has remained firmly opposed to continuing international efforts to revive the 2015 accord that saw Iran agree to curbs on its nuclear activities in exchange for sanctions relief.

Former US President Donald Trump withdrew from the agreement in 2018, and instead began a campaign of “maximum pressure” sanctions against Tehran, who in turn flouted commitments under the deal.

Sullivan said on Wednesday his visit to Israel had come at “a critical juncture”.

“It’s important that we sit together and develop a common strategy, a common outlook, and find a way forward that fundamentally secures your country’s interests and mine,” Sullivan said, according to an Israeli government statement.

He did not directly mention Iran but the Israeli statement said the meeting focused on the Vienna talks, which are expected to soon enter their eighth round.

Bennett has called for the negotiations to be halted, accusing Iran of “nuclear blackmail” and charging that revenue it gained from sanctions relief would be used to acquire weapons to harm Israelis.

“What happens in Vienna has profound ramifications for the stability of the Middle East and the security of Israel for the upcoming years,” Bennett told Sullivan, according to his office

Lead US Iran negotiator Rob Malley told CNN on Tuesday that there are only “some weeks” left to revive the deal if Tehran continues its nuclear activities at the current pace.

“It really depends on the pace of their nuclear process,” said Malley, the US special envoy for Iran. “If they halt the nuclear advances, we have more time.

“If they continue at their current pace, we have some weeks left but not much more than that, at which point the conclusion will be there’s no deal to be revived,” he said.

Iran says it only wants to develop a civil nuclear programme.

Sullivan is also scheduled to meet Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas in Ramallah in the occupied West Bank during the trip.

Original News : https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2021/12/22/us-official-meets-with-israeli-pm-on-iran-nuclear-deal-talks

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