Blinken meets Israeli officials for talks on Iran: report
Israel has recently increased its calls for harsher restrictions on sensitive Iranian technology and projects, as US President Joe Biden ponders a return to the 2015 JCPOA nuclear agreement in order to curtail Iran’s uranium enrichment program, from which the administration of his predecessor Donald Trump withdrew.
The two-hour meeting between Blinken and his team with Mossad chief Yossi Cohen and Israeli Ambassador Gilad Erdan is the latest in a series of high-level communications aimed at allowing Israeli officials to air their grievances while seeking common ground on Iran.
As the officials met in Washington, Cohen said Israeli warplanes “can reach everywhere in the Middle East - and certainly Iran,” the Times of Israel reported
He warned that “a bad deal will send the region spiraling into war. Anyone seeking short-term benefits should be mindful of the longer term. Israel will not allow Iran to attain nuclear arms. Iran has no immunity anywhere,” according to the Times of Israel.
The meeting followed talks this week between US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan and his Israeli counterpart in which the Israeli delegation stressed their “freedom to operate” against Iran as they see fit.
Israeli Intelligence Minister Eli Cohen also told Reuters on Thursday that “A bad deal [with Iran] will send the region spiralling into war,” adding that Israel does not consider itself bound by such diplomatic measures.
The Biden administration is currently considering a rollback of some of the tough sanctions imposed by the Trump administration on Iran, AP has reported.
Although officials have denied Washington will remove all non-nuclear sanctions, they have not identified those which will be removed and which will be kept.
“Any return to the JCPOA would require sanctions relief, but we are considering removing only those sanctions that are inconsistent with the JCPOA,” State Department spokesman Ned Price said on Wednesday.
“Even if we rejoin the JCPOA – which remains a hypothetical – we would retain and continue to implement sanctions on Iran for activities not covered by the JCPOA, including Iran’s missile proliferation, support for terrorism, and human rights abuses.”
The source who spoke to Reuters declined to say how Blinken and his aides responded to the Israeli ambassador and Mossad chief.