In The News

Israel Said to Up Pressure on US to Strike Iranian Targets as Nuclear Talks Risk Collapse

Israel is preparing to step up pressure on US officials to carry out a military strike on Iran-linked targets, should diplomatic efforts for a nuclear accord with the Islamic Republic fail, according to Hebrew media reports.

Israel’s Defense Minister Benny Gantz and Mossad chief David Barnea will meet in Washington, DC this week to discuss Iran’s nuclear advances with their US counterparts. The visit comes as the first round of indirect talks in months between Tehran and world powers to revive the 2015 nuclear deal broke off amid slow progress.

For Gantz and Barnea, the stalled nuclear talks in Vienna represent a window of opportunity to discuss a “Plan B” with Biden administration officials and to advocate harsher economic sanctions against Iran, as well as military strikes, if negotiations fall through, Israel’s N12 reported.

An aim of any US strike — on possible sites such as an Iranian base in Yemen — would be to weaken Tehran’s position at the negotiating table.

Israeli President Isaac Herzog struck a similar chord on Sunday, at the official ceremony to accept the credentials of incoming US ambassador to Israel Tom Nides.

“Israel is closely following the international community’s negotiations with Iran. We will welcome a comprehensive diplomatic solution, but Israel is keeping all options on the table,” Herzog said. “If the world does not take a vigorous stance — Israel will do so. Israel will protect itself.”

Iran on Monday expressed a willingness to resume negotiations based on draft proposals it submitted last week, blaming Western powers for the lack of progress so far. But US and European officials have complained that Iran had come to Vienna having abandoned agreements reached during earlier rounds of discussions.

Read More: The Algemeiner