Israeli Defense Forces Chief of Staff Avi Kohavi has been meeting with US officials in Washington to coordinate on the Iran nuclear deal and is making Israel’s opposition to the US rejoining the agreement known.
The IDF released a statement that said Kohavi reiterated the “failures of the current nuclear deal” in meetings with National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan and US military officials on Wednesday. “Throughout the day, the chief of staff has presented possible ways to prevent Iran from obtaining military nuclear capabilities during his meetings,” the statement said.
Kohavi has been in Washington since Sunday, and the IDF released a similar statement earlier this week on how he is objecting to the JCPOA. The Israelis claim the JCPOA is a path to a nuclear-armed Iran, but the agreement puts strict limits on Iran’s nuclear program and makes it subject to the most stringent inspections in the world. Iran is also bound by the Non-Proliferation Treaty, which Israel refuses to sign due to its secret nuclear weapons program.
The US and Israel are also coordinating on ways to counter Iranian drones and missiles, according to a report from Axios. The report said the US and Israel established a working group to counter Iranian weapons that first met three weeks ago. The group is headed by Brett McGurk, the top Middle East official on the National Security Council, and Israel’s Deputy National Security Advisor Reuven Azar.
Iran hawks want a stricter agreement than the JCPOA that includes Iran’s ballistic missile program. But Tehran rejects the idea and has no interest in negotiating any more agreements until the US returns to its commitments under the JCPOA by lifting sanctions.
The sixth round of negotiations between the US and Iran to revive the JCPOA wrapped up on Sunday, and the State Department said the two sides had not reached an agreement so far. The Biden administration is refusing to lift all Trump-era sanctions. While the US claims it wants to reach a deal with Iran, the refusal to lift sanctions and the close coordination with Israel sends a very different signal.