Israel not trying to drag US into military conflict with Iran, PM adviser says

With talks stalled for months, Eyal Hulata quoted saying Israel doesn’t see confrontation with Tehran as solution; suggests new, good agreement rather than a return to the old one

National Security Adviser Eyal Hulata speaks during the IISS Manama Dialogue in the Bahraini capital Manama on November 21, 2021. (Mazen Mahdi/AFP)
National Security Adviser Eyal Hulata speaks during the IISS Manama Dialogue in the Bahraini capital Manama on November 21, 2021. (Mazen Mahdi/AFP)

National Security Adviser Eyal Hulata reportedly said Thursday that Israel is not interested in a military solution to Iran’s nuclear program.

“We are not looking for a confrontation with Iran — we don’t consider that to be a solution,” Hulata said during at a closed conference held for the Board of Governors of Tel Aviv University.

He added that Israel “does not want to drag the United States into a military confrontation” with the Islamic republic and indicated that Jerusalem was looking into other options of dealing with the threat posed by Iran’s nuclear ambitions.

“We think the issue can be solved in other ways,” he said, according to a report by the Walla news site. “We believe it can.”

Hulata’s comments come as negotiations between Iran and world powers over restoring a frayed 2015 nuclear deal have been stalled since mid-March, reportedly over Iran’s demand that Washington delist its Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps from a US terror list — a demand that the US has rejected.

On Tuesday, the UN atomic energy watchdog chief said that he was “extremely concerned” about Iran’s lack of cooperation as the EU seeks to return to the landmark accord that curtailed the Islamic republic’s nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief.

International Atomic Energy Organization director general Rafael Mariano Grossi, right, speaks with Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian, left, during their meeting in Tehran, on March 5, 2022. (AP)

The top Israeli adviser said that Iran’s return to the negotiating table on a return to the 2005 accord would be a bad outcome for Israel because it would provide further legitimation for its nuclear program, which Prime Minister Naftali Bennett has said would lead to a “more violent” Middle East.

“The money Iran receives now [from a renewed agreement with the West] will fuel the assistance it provides to terror organizations,” Hulata said.

“Nothing can be gained from [the old] agreement,” he argued. “There’s a better chance of reaching a good agreement without returning to the old one.”

Israel has repeatedly urged countries negotiating with the Islamic republic in Vienna to adopt “a stronger line” against Tehran and make it clear that the West will not tolerate Iran enriching uranium while negotiating at the same time.

According to recent reports, Israeli officials have recently indicated that the US administration is closer than ever to admitting defeat on President Joe Biden’s stated goal of returning to the 2015 deal.

According to an Axios report from last month, the Biden administration “has recently started discussing a scenario” in which the deal won’t be revived.

Two weeks ago, Hulata met his US counterpart Jake Sullivan in Washington.

According to the US readout of the meeting, Sullivan told Hulata that “the United States is attuned to Israel’s concerns about threats to its security, including first and foremost from Iran and Iranian-backed proxies.”

AFP contributed to this report. 

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