Israeli officials to visit Washington for discussions on Iranian nuclear threat


The White House in Washington, the United States.
SAUL LOEB / AFPThe White House in Washington, the United States.

Senior Israeli officials Ron Dermer and Tzachi Hanegbi are expected to meet with U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, Secretary of State Antony Blinken

Israel’s Strategic Affairs Minister Ron Dermer and National Security Council chief Tzachi Hanegbi are set to travel to Washington next week to discuss, among other things, progress made by Iran on their nuclear program, Israeli media reported Wednesday. 

According to Walla! News, the pair are expected to meet with U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, Secretary of State Antony Blinken, and other senior U.S. officials to talk about various security issues.

The visit will precede a visit by U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin to Israel next week to continue such talks, senior Israeli and U.S. officials have said. He is expected to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, and President Isaac Herzog.

Netanyahu and other Israeli officials have stressed in recent weeks that presenting a credible military threat is necessary to stop Iran, which the Jewish state and the Western world have accused of threatening global security. For his part, U.S. Under Secretary of Defense Colin Kahl said Tuesday that Tehran can enrich a sufficient amount of uranium in 12 days to a level of 90 percent – the level of enrichment needed to produce a crude nuclear weapon.

A probe by the UN’s nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency, into the Islamic Republic’s nuclear activities found particles of 84 percent-enriched uranium, the highest level of enrichment ever achieved by Iran. Israeli and U.S. intelligence estimated that despite this progress, it will take Iran another one or two years to produce a nuclear warhead that can be integrated into a ballistic missile.

Dermer and Hanegbi will arrive in the United States, as Netanyahu has yet to receive an invitation to meet U.S. President Joe Biden at the White House.

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