Ties between Washington and Tel Aviv have soured since the election of US President Joe Biden and his rushed attempts to rejoin the JCPOA, an acronym for the 2015 nuclear deal.
Gulf capitals and Israel have said they should be included in any talks on a potential nuclear deal with Iran. They were not invited to participate in the negotiations prior to the 2015 deal, which former President Barack Obama brokered.
And after two rounds of indirect talks in Vienna that started earlier this month, European countries, Russia and China, are the only external participants.
According to the US news website Axio, Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu informed officials of Tel Aviv’s position during a recent security meeting.
Israeli officials reportedly said that Netanyahu “instructed the delegation traveling to Washington, DC next week for strategic talks on Iran to stress their objection to a US return to the 2015 nuclear deal and to refuse to discuss its contents.”
Netanyahu also reportedly told the traveling delegation to make it known that Israel was not a part of the JCPOA and that it would act in any way needed to protect itself from Iranian threats.
“The decision at the end of the meeting was to stress that a return to the deal would put Israel in danger and to otherwise decline to discuss the talks in Vienna,” Axios reported.
National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan extended an invite to his Israeli counterpart, Meir Ben-Shabbat, to visit Washington to continue talks on “security issues of vital importance,” the White House previously announced.
Israeli officials have voiced skepticism over any potential deal that fails to deal with Iran’s support for terrorist groups, including Lebanon’s Hezbollah and Yemen’s Houthis, and its ballistic missile program.
On Wednesday, a senior State Department official told reporters that there had been some progress during the second round of indirect talks with Iran. “There are still disagreements, in some cases pretty important ones,” the official said.
Asked about complaints from Israel that the US was not fully transparent about talks on a new deal, the official pushed back and said this was not true.