September 23, 2021
The United States held a secret meeting with Israel last week to discuss a Plan B in case the Iran nuclear talks do not resume or if world powers fail to reach an agreement with Tehran over reviving the nuclear deal, Axios reported on Wednesday. They met as a part of a working group called ‘Opal,’ which was established during the Obama administration as a channel for Washington and Jerusalem to discuss Iran strategy.
Axios separately reported that US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan is scheduled to travel to Saudi Arabia and other countries in the region in the coming days.
According to the report, US officials who participated in the conversations stressed their readiness to impose additional sanctions on Iran if the talks do not resume soon.
This meeting comes at an important time after European officials were pushing for a ministerial session of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA)’s Joint Commission on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York, which is now not scheduled to happen. However, Iran’s Foreign Ministry and the EU high representative for foreign affairs have indicated nuclear talks could resume soon. No date has been announced.
Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett has been pushing the Biden administration to develop a Plan B. However, during his speech before the UN General Assembly on Tuesday, US President Joe Biden stressed his readiness to return to the nuclear deal and resume full compliance if Iran does the same without mentioning any deadline or alternative options being considered.