Tuesday, October 5, 2021

Biden national security adviser to host Israeli counterpart for talks on Iran

US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan will host his Israeli counterpart Eyal Hulata at the White House on Tuesday for talks on the Iranian nuclear program.

Sullivan and Hulata will chair a meeting of the US-Israel Strategic Consultative Group (SRG), an inter-agency bilateral forum established in March for discussing Iran and other regional security issues, a senior US official told reporters Monday in a briefing. The SRG includes representatives from the military, diplomatic and intelligence communities in both Israel and the US.

The forum has met several times in recent months, but the Tuesday morning session will be the first time it will be held in person. The senior US official said that the SRG meeting will build off the White House sit-down between US President Joe Biden and Prime Minister Naftali Bennett in late August.

Then, Biden assured Bennett that he would never allow Iran to acquire a nuclear weapon and that while his administration was still pursuing diplomatic efforts — namely a reentry into the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action — it would be prepared to pursue other avenues if they failed.

“We still believe very strongly that the diplomatic path remains the best path for resolving this issue,” the US official told reporters on Monday. “Since we came in we have not lifted any sanctions, we are not going to pay upfront, and we’ve made that very clear.”

Israel opposes the revival of the JCPOA, which former president Barack Obama signed in 2015, and his successor Donald Trump vacated in 2018. However, Bennett has told Biden that he would not publicly campaign against the JCPOA the way his predecessor Benjamin Netanyahu did. READ MORE