US preparing 'options' against Iran if nuclear talks fail

A virtual meeting between Jake Sullivan and Eyal Hulata focused on the negotiations with Iran and recent significant developments in the Middle East.

 US national security adviser Jake Sullivan holds a news briefing about the situation in Afghanistan at the White House in Washington, US, August 17, 2021 (photo credit: LEAH MILLIS/REUTERS)
US national security adviser Jake Sullivan holds a news briefing about the situation in Afghanistan at the White House in Washington, US, August 17, 2021
(photo credit: LEAH MILLIS/REUTERS)

The United States is preparing alternative options to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons, US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan told Israeli counterpart Eyal Hulata in a virtual meeting on Wednesday night.

The US-Israel Strategic Consultative Group (SCG) meeting between Sullivan and Hulata focused on the negotiations with Iran and recent significant developments in the Middle East.

Sullivan reaffirmed the US' commitment to diplomacy as the preferred method of handling the indirect nuclear talks with the Islamic Republic. However, Sullivan stated alternative options, prepared in coordination with partners such as Israel, will be taken if diplomacy fails.

Earlier in the week, US Special Envoy for Iran Rob Malley said the US is less likely to return to the 2015 Iran nuclear deal as long as Tehran holds four US citizens hostage.

Furthermore, the departure of Richard Nephew, the deputy leader of the US delegation to the negotiations with Iran, over differences in approach with Malley, casts further doubt on Washington's ability to increase pressure on Tehran in order to reach an agreement.

 US Special Envoy for Iran Robert Malley. (credit: REUTERS) US Special Envoy for Iran Robert Malley. (credit: REUTERS)

Hulata and Sullivan were joined in the meeting by senior representatives from the respective foreign policy, defense, and intelligence ministries and agencies. The two agreed to remain closely coordinated on the full range of issues of mutual interest to the US and Israel, as the two nations remain united against all threats to their national security.

Hulata and Sullivan also discussed upcoming military cooperation in training excercises, as the US Army observed a recent aerial exercise conducted by the IDF