In the video: Netanyahu: "My most important task is to stop Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons" (Photo: Roni Kanfo)
The talks held this week by senior Israeli and American officials on the Iranian issue indicated a significant rapprochement in the positions of the two sides on the issue, said senior Israeli officials who are aware of the contents of the discussions held at the White House on Monday.
why is it important:
The talks this week were the first time that the Israeli-American strategic forum on Iran has convened since the establishment of the new government in Israel.
The talks took place against a background of growing concern in Jerusalem and Washington about the unprecedented progress of the Iranian nuclear program.
The fact that UN inspectors revealed that Iran had enriched uranium at the underground nuclear facility in Fordow to a level of 84 percent - within touching distance of the level needed to produce nuclear weapons - turned on additional warning lights.
Prime Minister Netanyahu and other Israeli officials have said in recent weeks that the US and Israel must prepare a reliable military option against Iran in case the Islamic Republic tries to break through to nuclear weapons.
In the news center:
The Israeli delegation led by the Minister of Strategic Affairs Ron Dermer and National Security Adviser Tzachi Hanegbi included senior officials from the Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Defense and the Intelligence Community who deal with the Iranian issue.
The American team led by White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan and the Israeli delegation discussed the shared concern about progress in Iran's nuclear program, the White House said in a statement.
The White House added that the two teams discussed tightening security cooperation and increasing coordination regarding measures that would prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons and deter its aggression in the region.
Another topic that came up in the talks is the joint military exercises between the US Army and the IDF.
Senior Israeli officials said that the latest exercise simulated a possible attack against Iran's nuclear facilities.
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Participated in the Israeli-American strategic forum on Iran.
Dermer (photo: official website, Sharia Diamant, first source)
What they say:
An Israeli senior official who participated in the talks said that the discussions on the Iranian issue that took place this week at the White House were very good "and were conducted at a very high level of openness".
A second Israeli official briefed on the contents of the talks said that the talks showed that the Israeli position and the American position on the Iranian issue are much closer than in the past.
"A nuclear agreement is not on the table and the Iranians are helping Russia in the war in Ukraine. We are in a new world and in a different atmosphere and we are looking at this issue from closer perspectives," said the Israeli official.
He added that the talks between the parties this week were serious.
"It was a real discussion about Iran and not just a meeting with the aim of marking a V. There was great openness on the American side," said the Israeli official.
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American Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin will arrive tomorrow morning for a quick visit to Israel during which he will meet with Prime Minister Netanyahu and Defense Minister Gallant.
The Iranian issue will be a central part of the talks.