WASHINGTON – US and Israel disagree on relaunching 2015 nuclear deal with Iran, but agree to ensure there are “no surprises” between the two governments, White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan told NBC News.
In an interview with NBC’s Andrea Mitchell, Sullivan indirectly responded to allegations that Israel was behind a recent cyberattack on an underground Iranian nuclear facility in Natanz.
When asked if he would prefer that Iranian nuclear sites not be attacked during the negotiations, Sullivan said: “We certainly believe that there are certain types of activities that are of no use to diplomacy. . ” But he did not specify the “activities” he was referring to or the possible role of Israel.
Sullivan added: “ At the same time, we believe, deeply and passionately, in ensuring that we and Israel have a policy without surprises, that we communicate with each other on an ongoing basis, so that we have a better understanding … of what the other side intends to do regarding a whole host of security issues in the region. “
Sullivan acknowledged that the Biden administration and the Israeli government disagreed over the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran.
“Israel has a point of view on the Iran nuclear deal. The current government in Israel has communicated this point of view to us, they have deep concerns about it and we have had an intensive dialogue,” he said. .
Sullivan said there had been “some progress” in talks in Vienna between Iran and world powers to revive the 2015 agreement. The United States is participating indirectly, passing messages through the intermediary of European governments.
“There is still a good distance to go, and it is mainly on the question of the type of sanctions relief that will be offered on our part, and the type of nuclear restrictions that will be imposed on their side,” he said. -he says.
Despite strong opposition to the deal by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, some former senior Israeli intelligence officials and military officers have spoken out in favor of President Joe Biden’s approach.
Tamir Pardo, former director of Israel’s Mossad intelligence service, signed a letter with other former IDF and security officials in February endorsing the Biden administration’s plan to revert to the nuclear deal if Iran was coming back into compliance with restrictions on its nuclear activities.
Sullivan spoke with NBC News before meeting with his Israeli counterpart, Meir Ben-Shabbat, in Washington on Tuesday.
According to a White House statement, the two “discussed their serious concerns about the progress of Iran’s nuclear program in recent years.”
At the meeting, officials briefed Israel on nuclear talks in Vienna between Iran and world powers, and “underscored the United States’ strong interest in closely consulting Israel on the upcoming nuclear issue.”
The White House said that “the United States and Israel agreed on the significant threat posed by Iran’s aggressive behavior in the region, and U.S. officials underscored President Biden’s steadfast support for the right to Israel to defend itself “.