Washington keeps the diplomatic channel open with Tehran, hoping to avoid a military confrontation it does not want
Anonymous Israeli officials told Ynet that an agreement between the United States and Iran to curb Iran’s nuclear program seems increasingly likely. Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Galant will meet his American counterpart Lloyd Austin on Thursday in an unspecified European country to discuss the talks.
Talks between Washington and Tehran are taking place via Oman and Qatar, overseen by Brett McGurk, close to national security adviser Jake Sullivan. The United States is keeping the diplomatic channel open with Tehran, hoping to deter the Iranians from accelerating the enrichment of uranium to the 90% purity required for weapons-grade fissile material, and to avoid a military confrontation that Washington does not want.
The talks also cover other bilateral issues, such as prisoner exchanges and attempts to reach agreements in various fields. Tehran wants to return to the 2015 agreement, rejected by the United States in 2018. Washington opposes it, fearing the reactions of public opinion because of the assistance provided by Iran to Russia within the framework of the war in Ukraine.
The United States is seeking a new, tougher long-term deal, but Israel doubts Iran will agree, not least because some key clauses of the previous deal will expire in 2025.
Officials say a return to the original deal is unlikely to be possible, but a deal on prisoner swaps and the lifting of sanctions, particularly in Iraq and South Korea, could be on the cards. In return, Iran should restore the monitoring of its nuclear installations and cease the enrichment of uranium.
Israel made it clear that a military threat could be more effective than diplomacy in preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. Israeli officials suggest that Netanyahu’s failure to invite the United States is linked to a desire not to jeopardize the potential deal.
According to officials quoted by Ynet, Washington has assured that Israel will not be harmed by a possible agreement with Iran, while European countries have adopted a tougher position towards Tehran, in particular because of its support for Russia in Ukraine. US officials have reassured Israel that the negotiations are proceeding transparently and in coordination with Jerusalem.
This article is originally published on i24news.tv