Netanyahu met with American officials. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin was in Israel on Thursday to talk about the Abraham Accords’ strengthening and the Iranian nuclear threat.
At the beginning of the meeting, Netanyahu stated, “We have a common agenda to stop Iran from gaining nuclear weapons and stop Iran’s aggression, maintain the stability and prosperity of our area, and seek to widen the circle of peace.
Austin’s quick trip to the Middle East began in Jordan and included an unscheduled stop in Iraq. He landed in Israel for a one-day visit via Egypt.
Austin is making his second official visit to the area while serving as defense secretary. He spoke with key Israeli officials, including the defense minister at the time, Benny Gantz, during his first visit in April 2021.
Israel’s Minister of Strategic Affairs, Ron Dermer, and National Security Advisor Tzachi Hanegbi spoke with American officials on Monday in Washington before making the trip.
As Jerusalem’s alarm about Iran’s nuclear development grows, Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaks out.
According to State Department spokesman Ned Price, Blinken reaffirmed the Biden administration’s commitment to stopping Tehran from developing nuclear weapons.
U.S. Hanegbi, Dermer, and “a senior Israeli interagency delegation” attended a U.S.-Israel Strategic Consultation Group meeting that National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan also sponsored, according to a joint statement.
Israeli and U.S. officials reviewed joint U.S. military and Israel Defense Forces exercises and “pledged to improve collaboration on steps to prevent Iran from gaining a nuclear weapon and to deter Iran’s hostile regional operations further.”
The high-level gatherings follow the discovery of uranium that the International Atomic Energy Agency enriched to 83.7% in the Islamic Republic last month.
The parties met for two days in Tehran this past weekend, where they “addressed the importance of taking steps to facilitate enhanced cooperation, to expedite as appropriate the resolution of outstanding safeguards issues,” according to a statement released by the parties on Saturday.
IAEA Director Rafael Grossi was in attendance.
According to Grossi, Tehran will enable the IAEA to reinstall several monitoring tools withdrawn last year when discussions to resurrect the dead 2015 nuclear deal came to a standstill. Behrouz Kamalvandi, a spokesman for the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, stated that many sensitive facilities where the IAEA is seeking clarifications of previous nuclear activities would not be open to inspectors.
Following-up negotiations to finalize the terms of the informal agreement would take place in Iran “very, very soon,” according to Grossi.
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has verified in a report that its inspectors discovered 83.7 percent enriched uranium at Iran’s underground nuclear facility in Fordow, barely below the 90% enrichment level deemed “military grade.”