Former Israeli National Security Adviser Meir Ben-Shabbat revealed some of the Israeli demands made by his government during the friendly dialogue with the US administration, including setting a timetable for a possible Plan B if efforts to resume the nuclear talks with Iran fail.
In an interview with the Israel Hayom newspaper, Ben-Shabbat said that the government of Prime Minister Naftali Bennett shared the same US position on the need to reach a solution with Iran through diplomacy, but demanded that a deadline be set for the implementation of the agreement.
Ben-Shabbat, who is very close to former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and a strong supporter of his hardline policy against Iran, said: “We cannot be satisfied with just a general statement; we need to define the stages and timelines, and develop a plan for each scenario.”
These statements came in the wake of reports in Tel Aviv and Washington about secret talks between the two sides to discuss a US contingency planning often referred to as Plan B to deal with the Iranian nuclear program, in the event that talks aimed at reviving the nuclear deal failed.
According to Axios Correspondent Barak Ravid, these discussions reached their peak last week, with a top-secret joint US-Israel strategic working group on Iran - the first of its kind at this level since the new Israeli government took office in June.
The meeting, which was held via a secure, enclosed video circle, was chaired by US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan, and Eyal Hulata, the head of the National Security Council in the Israeli prime minister’s office.
During the bilateral talks, the Israeli side underlined the need to move forward in coordinating a Plan B due to the stalemate in diplomatic talks on Iran’s nuclear prorgram, and Tehran’s acceleration of its nuclear activities.
According to Ravid, the US officials confirmed their intention to impose additional sanctions on Iran if the nuclear talks did not resume imminently.