A high-ranking Israeli delegation will leave Sunday morning for urgent talks in Washington as negotiations between world powers and Iran enter their final stages.
The delegation is headed by Intelligence Minister Yuval Steinitz and includes members such as National Security Advisor Yossi Cohen, deputy director general for strategic affairs in the Foreign Ministry Jeremy Issacharoff, head of the strategic division of the Strategic Affairs Ministry Dr. Sima Shine and representatives of the Atomic Energy Commission, the Mossad and the Military Intelligence Directorate.
Washington agreed to attend the meeting, despite the short notice from Israel that issued the request to meet with the Americans only on last Tuesday
The delegation will meet, among others, Under Secretary of State Wendy Sherman and US Deputy Secretary of State Bill Burns.
The last-minute delegation was brought together due to fear in Jerusalem that the world powers will overly compromise with the Iranians in order to reach a permanent agreement. Major rifts remain between the world powers and Iran in regards to several different fields and the parties have yet to draft the permanent agreement.
However, Israel has voiced concern that the powers are willing to let Iran retain its enrichment capability beyond the minimum required for peaceful uses.
Israel insists that the agreement should strive for a “zero enrichment” option – and that if Iran is allowed to enrich uranium, it can only be at low levels of 3.5%, as to prolong the time it would take the country to produce a nuclear bomb from months to years.
Israel will also clarify to the Americans that the agreement must be based on the model of disarmament that will be implemented both in the case of Iran and in the case of Syria, rather than the proposed monitoring model. Israeli sources further believe that the agreement should also refer to Iran’s missile program.
Israel maintains a dialogue with the world powers, particularly with the Americans, the French, the British and the Germans.
Several days ago, Britain’s lead negotiator in talks on Iran’s nuclear program Simon Gass met with Steinitz.
The Intelligence Minister also spoke recently with France and England’s chief nuclear negotiators. Steinitz said on Saturday that “the fact that the Americans were willing to meet with the Israeli delegation on such a short notice is deeply appreciated.”
The world powers and Iran agreed to reach a permanent agreement July 20, but Israel estimates that the talks will be prolonged by several weeks. At the same time, Israeli officials believe that the Americans are determined to reach an agreement.