Israel Defense Chief Reiterates Opposition to US Re-Entry in Iran Nuke Deal (Zhukovsky/Dreamstime.com)
By Fran Beyer | Thursday, 24 June 2021 03:07 PM
Israel Defense Forces chief of staff Lt. Gen. Aviv Kochavi has doubled down on the nation’s opposition to the United States rejoining the Iran nuclear deal.
Kochavi flew into Washington on Sunday — the first trip by an Israeli official with Prime Minister Naftali Bennett leading the country, The Jerusalem Post reported.
On Wednesday, Kochavi met with national security adviser Jake Sullivan and other top American defense officials, warning about the ''failures of the current nuclear deal,'' and urging them to explore alternatives to prevent Iran from getting nuclear weapons, The Times of Israel reported.
''Throughout the day, the chief of staff has presented possible ways to prevent Iran from obtaining military nuclear capabilities during his meetings,'' a statement from the IDF chief stated, the news outlet reported.
Also taking part at the meeting were the national security council coordinator for the Middle East and North Africa, Brett McGurk, and the special assistant to the president Cara Abercrombie, the Times of Israel reported.
Kohavi’s remarks came as the United States and Iran — through intermediaries — have been negotiating a mutual return to the 2015 nuclear deal that former President Donald Trump ditched in 2018, putting in place crushing sanctions on Iran instead.
In his stay in Washington, Kochavi has been welcomed by Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley. He also met with the U.S. national security team and with Central Command chief Frank McKenzie and Special Operations Command head Richard Clarke, Al-Monitor reported.
He was also set to meet CIA director William Burns and National Intelligence Director Avril Haynes on Thursday.
Speculation arose last week that Israel Prime Minister Bennett intends to nominate retired Gen. Amos Yadlin, a top Iranian expert, as the country’s new national security adviser, Al-Monitor reported.
"It is the right of Americans to try the diplomatic path as a first priority, but they should commit and give us guarantees that if the diplomatic path does not work then there are other paths and we will work together,'' Yadlin said Thursday, Al-Monitor reported, adding Israel has not changed its policy that the Iranian nuclear deal ''is bad.''
Kochavi also met with Gilad Erdan, Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations and to the United States, and discussed Israeli concerns regarding Hezbollah and the ways the U.N. and its peacekeeping force in Lebanon can help rein in the group, Al-Monitor reported.
Kochavi is scheduled to fly home Friday.