February 27, 2021
An Israeli-US committee to confront the Iranian nuclear program has been formed and is expected to begin its work soon at the highest national security levels, political and security sources in Tel Aviv revealed on Friday.
Sources pointed to a basic disagreement between US President Joe Biden’s administration and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over the Iranian nuclear issue and the US return to the nuclear deal, noting that it requires urgent dialogue and coordination.
Yet, no direct talks have yet taken place between both sides, despite reports about meetings between Israeli and US security officials.
According to Alex Fishman, the military affairs correspondent of Israel’s Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper, a joint committee has already been formed since former President Donald Trump’s administration and is led by heads of both countries’ National Security Councils.
But it has not met recently, and it is expected to resume its work soon to re-coordinate positions on the Iranian nuclear threat, he noted.
Fishman pointed out that “the Americans asked Israel to resume the committee’s meetings.
However, unlike during Trump’s term, the Israeli side is now weak and less capable of influencing US decisions, he said.
Although the new administration focuses on two major issues, namely the economic crisis and the health crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic, it is aware of the Iranian nuclear program threat, said a senior military official in Tel Aviv.
The administration wants to get rid of this threat and is aware of the importance of relieving its allies in the Middle East who are gravely concerned, he added.
Fishman quoted some officials as saying that there is a serious disagreement between Netanyahu and Biden’s team over dealing with Iran.
Netanyahu wants to resolve the Iranian nuclear complex based on the principle of “everything or nothing,” which means that Tehran be stripped of its nuclear resources that may lead to a military project.
He also links the nuclear issue with two other threats: dismantling the ballistic missile project and halting the positioning scheme in Syria.
“Until achieving both goals, an absolute boycott shall be imposed on it, and the current sanctions against it shall not be eased,” they stressed.
The officials indicated that Netanyahu is very concerned about signals given by Biden’s administration to encourage the regime in Tehran.
They mentioned meetings between US officials and Iranian representatives following an invitation by the European Union, as well as the announcement by Iranian Central Bank of South Korea’s unfreezing of Iranian funds and Iran’s ability to obtain loans from international funds.
These steps would not occur without prior US approval, they stressed.
Meanwhile, officials said that Biden’s administration sees Netanyahu’s stance as “unrealistic” and insists on resuming negotiations to reach a better agreement.