PM Lapid in talks to meet Biden as Iran’s new nuclear deal looms – India Times Hindi News

As Washington draws closer to signing a renewed nuclear deal with Iran, Israel and the US are looking to set up a meeting next month between Prime Minister Yair Lapid and US President Joe Biden, according to a Saturday report.

Cannes News, citing a senior Israeli official, said the idea is to schedule a meeting on the sidelines of the annual session of the UN General Assembly. A possible date is September 20, when Biden will address the UNGA, the unnamed official said.

The two leaders are also expected to speak over the phone in the coming days, the report said, a report also carried by the Ynet news site, citing a senior US source.

Meanwhile, continuing his US visit on Saturday, Defense Secretary Benny Gantz told the heads of major Washington think tanks on Saturday that “reforms are necessary” in the emerging new nuclear deal with Iran.

“Iran has gained knowledge, infrastructure and capabilities in recent years, much of which is irreversible,” Gantz said.

He added that “this would enable Iran to further expand its nuclear program during the term of an agreement that would have fewer sanctions.” And Iran “will be able to acquire a nuclear weapon when said agreement expires in 2031.”

Defense Secretary Benny Gantz meets with the heads of a Washington DC think tank on August 27, 2022. (in Yossi)

Thus, he argued, “discussions are necessary to reform the nuclear deal – with an emphasis on the ‘sunset’ clause,” which sees some sanctions expire in nine years’ time.

Gantz also noted that Iran provides hundreds of millions of dollars a year to regional terrorist groups, including Hezbollah.

“As such, regardless of any future scenario, action should be taken against Iranian proxies that threaten the entire Middle East region.”

Defense Secretary Benny Gantz meets with the heads of a Washington DC think tank on August 27, 2022. (in Yossi)

On Friday, Gantz met with US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan and said Israel “needs” the US a credible military option against Iran, a senior Israeli official told reporters.

According to the defense official, Israel received “good signs” regarding a working offensive plan against Iran. He did not elaborate, but said it would potentially ensure Tehran is more flexible during talks for a renewed deal.

The official said the meeting between Gantz and Sullivan in Washington was “intimate” and “positive.” He said Gantz emphasized Israel’s objection to the potential deal, which has been described by Israel as “very bad”.

The official warned that Iran’s nuclear program has expanded significantly since 2018 when then-US President Donald Trump pulled out of the so-called Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. The official said he personally sees Trump’s move as a mistake.

Defense Secretary Benny Gantz meets with US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan on August 26, 2022 in Washington DC. (Yossi Mai / Ministry of Defense)

The official said the situation has reached a point where there are only two scenarios: no agreement, allowing Iran to slowly advance its nuclear program, or a bad deal that doesn’t serve Israel’s interests. .

The official said Israel has two main concerns regarding the potential deal: the so-called sunset clause, which would remove limits on Iran’s nuclear program when the deal expires; and sanctions relief that would allow Iran to increase funding for its proxies.

The official said Israel has attempted to influence the deal as much as possible in some aspects, but “as of now, it is far from serving Israel’s interests as it sees it.” The official said Israel wants to make the deal “longer and stronger”.

Still, the official said that Gantz’s objections were received positively by Sullivan. “I think we are being listened to, even if the Americans don’t accept what we want in the end,” the official said.

The official said Israel would still have the freedom to take action against Iran, adding that whether or not a deal is signed, Jerusalem would still continue its efforts on what it sees as hostile Iranian actions.

A readout issued by a US National Security Council spokesman said, “Sullivan emphasized President Biden’s unwavering commitment to Israel’s security, and the two called for deepening the US-Israel security partnership through regional cooperation and coordination.” exchanged ideas on the methods of

Prime Minister Yair Lapid meeting with the head of the Mossad David Barnia in the Ministry of Defence, Tel Aviv on August 25, 2022. (The Office of the Prime Minister)

“They discussed the US commitment to ensuring that Iran never acquires a nuclear weapon, and the need to counter threats from Iran and Iran-based proxies.”

Gantz met with General Michael Kurilla, the head of US Central Command, on Thursday at CentCom’s headquarters in Florida. Gantz was briefed on America’s plans for possible scenarios after the nuclear deal was agreed or not.

Gantz and Kurilla’s discussion focused on ways to increase cooperation between Israel and the US military, ways to counter the Iranian threat in the Middle East, and a “Plan B” for a nuclear deal.

CENTCOM officially assumed responsibility for US military relations with Israel in September last year. Until then, Israel was placed under the European Command’s (EUCOM) area of ​​responsibility to prevent potential tensions between CENTCOM and the Arab and Muslim nations under its purview, many of whom 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.

“Israel’s influence in the region is getting stronger,” a senior defense official told reporters on Friday.

“The players in the region are no less upset by the emerging agreement. We have communication channels, and in many ways, they trusted us to deliver confidence and influence,” he said.

The official said such talks were taking place “under the umbrella of Centcom”.

Gantz was visiting the US the same week as Israel’s national security adviser Eyal Hulta, both carrying a message of displeasure from Jerusalem at the pace of talks toward reviving the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran. Were.

Iran said on Wednesday that it had received a US response to its proposal to return to the 2015 accord.

White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby declined to mark the administration’s response to the latest proposal, but said “we are closer now than we were a few weeks ago because Iran decided to make some concessions.” “

Emanuel Fabian and agencies contributed to this report.