White House: Israel Won’t Change U.S. Stance on Iran Deal
Israeli opposition will not change the U.S. position on rejoining the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran, the White House has said.
Israel’s Mossad spy chief Yossi Cohen and National Security Adviser Meir Ben-Shabbat will travel to Washington on Monday to raise objections to their American counterparts regarding U.S.’s bid to rejoin the deal.
Asked on Friday whether the delegation’s visit will change the administration’s position on rejoining the deal, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said: “No.”
The news comes amid ongoing indirect talks between the US and Iran in Vienna.
“As it relates to Israel, we have kept them abreast as a key partner of these discussions — or of our intentions, and we will continue to do that on any future visits,” she said.
She acknowledged that while the talks with Iran are “challenging,” the US is “encouraged that there are still conversations between all parties and that they are still happening.”
A senior official in Jerusalem maintained that Israel is nevertheless hopeful its voice will be heard, the Jerusalem Post reported.
“We don’t think [rejoining the Iran agreement is] a done deal yet. We’re going [to Washington] because we’re going to try to influence the process,” he said according to the report.
The official was also quoted as saying: “The instructions to the senior security officials that are flying to Washington for talks is to present Israel’s opposition to the agreement in Iran and not to negotiate over it, because we are talking about a return to the previous agreement that is dangerous for Israel and the region.”
“If in the future there are serious contacts on Iran’s part over an improved agreement, Israel will state its position on the characteristics and content that such an agreement should have,” the official added.
The delegation was postponed by a day after more than 40 rockets were fired into Israel from the Hamas-run Gaza Strip.
IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kohavi canceled his participation in the delegation entirely.
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