Top official: US, Israel coordinated closely in lead up to Iran deal withdrawal
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Top official: US, Israel coordinated closely in lead up to Iran deal withdrawal

State Department's Andrew Peek says the US will be pressing other world powers to disinvest from Iran and devise new deal that tackles key issues

In this Tuesday, May 23, 2017 file photo, US President Donald Trump, left, shakes hands with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem (AP Photo/Sebastian Scheiner, File)
In this Tuesday, May 23, 2017 file photo, US President Donald Trump, left, shakes hands with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem (AP Photo/Sebastian Scheiner, File)

A senior State Department official said Wednesday that the US and Israel worked closely together leading up to US President Donald Trump’s decision to quit the Iran nuclear deal and reimpose sanctions on Tehran over its nuclear program.

“Throughout the entire process in recent months and in particularly the past two weeks, we consulted with Israel and we wanted to make sure we coordinate closely with them,” Andrew Peek, deputy assistant secretary for Iran and Iraq, was quoted as saying by Hebrew media.

While Peek did not detail the nature of the coordination, Trump spoke with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu numerous times in recent months and cited the premier’s presentation of documents “conclusively showing” Iran’s history of pursuing nuclear weapons in his speech Tuesday announcing he would leave the 2015 accord.

Though Trump’s decision to leave what he called the “disastrous” deal was praised widely in Israel, the accord’s other signatories — Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China — have signaled their commitment to upholding the pact.

Andrew Peek, a deputy assistant secretary of state dealing with Iran and Iraq issues, is interviewed by CNN on May 9, 2018. (Screen capture: YouTube)

Speaking with NPR, Peek said the US would be “pushing and asking and cajoling” these countries to disinvest from Iran and would “wind down” sanctions waivers.

He also said the US would work with the United Kingdom, France and Germany to reach a new deal “that addresses not just the nuclear issues of Iran but the regional issues, the support for terrorism, the proliferation of missiles and others.”

While Iranian officials, including the parliament speaker, say they hope Europe will work with them to preserve the deal, President Hassan Rouhani warned Iran could ramp up uranium enrichment in the coming weeks and that there is only a short window to negotiate with the accord’s remaining signatories.

Trump warned Iran on Wednesday against resuming its nuclear activities, saying “if they do there will be very severe consequence.”

AP contributed to this report.

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