U.S. committed to Iran diplomacy but has options if it fails: Biden aide

A staff member removes the Iranian flag from the stage at the Vienna International Center in Vienna, Austria July 14, 2015. (Reuters)

SULAIMANI (ESTA) — U.S. President Joe Biden’s national security advisor said diplomacy is the best way to rein in Iran’s nuclear program even as he reaffirmed Biden’s warning to Tehran that Washington could turn to other options if negotiations fail.

Biden’s senior aide Jake Sullivan hosted Israeli national security advisor Eyal Hulata for talks which gave the two allies a chance to share intelligence and develop a “baseline assessment” of how far Tehran’s nuclear program has advances, Reuters cited a U.S. official as saying.

Sullivan “emphasized President Biden’s fundamental commitment to Israel’s security and to ensuring that Iran never gets a nuclear weapon,” the White House said in a statement on Tuesday.

“Mr. Sullivan explained that this administration believes diplomacy is the best path to achieve that goal, while also noting that the president has made clear that if diplomacy fails, the United States is prepared to turn to other options,” it added.

Tuesday’s meeting of the U.S.-Israel Strategic Consultative Group included military, intelligence and diplomatic officials and came amid stalled international diplomacy with Iran, according to Reuters.

Under a 2015 deal, Iran curbed its uranium enrichment program, a possible pathway to nuclear arms, in return for the lifting of economic sanctions. Then-U.S. President Donald Trump quit the deal in 2018 and the Israeli government opposes U.S. efforts to revive it.

U.S. experts believe the time it would take Iran to achieve nuclear “breakout” – enough enriched uranium to build a nuclear bomb – has “gone from about 12 months down to a period of about a few months” since Trump pulled out of the pact, the U.S. official said earlier, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Iran, Israel’s regional arch-foe, has consistently denied it is developing a nuclear bomb.

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