Defense Chiefs Gantz, Austin to Meet as Concerns Over Iran Nuke Program Grow; Report: US Asks Israel to Intervene Following Sudanese Coup

Reprinted from Honest Reporting.

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As Western concerns grow over Iran’s nuclear program, the country’s top nuclear negotiator, Ali Bagheri Kani, said that talks aimed at reinstating the 2015 Joint Comprehenisve Plan of Action (JCPOA) will resume on November 29.

Negotiations have been on hold since the June election in Iran of hardline President Ebrahim Raisi, who is expected to take a tough approach when the talks resume in Vienna.

Relatedly, Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz said on Twitter that he had spoken with his US counterpart Lloyd Austin about Iran’s nuclear program. Gantz announced an upcoming meeting between the two in order “to deepen their discussion on strategic questions and military cooperation.”

Israel recently approved a budget of around $1.5 billion (5 billion shekels) to prepare for possible strikes on Iranian nuclear facilities. The funds will go towards aircraft, intelligence gathering and dedicated armaments that can enable an attack.

   

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Israel is preparing to deploy a massive blimp in the north of the country that will provide advance warning of missile and drone threats with initial testing taking place on Wednesday, the Defense Ministry announced.

The High Availability Aerostat System is one of the largest airships of its type in the world and was developed and manufactured by the US-based company TCOM.

Tensions between Israel and Hezbollah have been escalating since the summer, when five rocket attacks emanating from Lebanon and targeting northern Israel took place in May, July and August.

The Israel Defense Forces over the summer also shot down a drone launched by Hezbollah, an Iranian proxy, that crossed the border from Lebanon into Israeli territory.

   

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The United States has reportedly asked Israel to intervene in Sudan after a military coup toppled the civilian government in the North African nation.

According to reports, the Biden Administration wants officials from the Jewish state to encourage coup leader General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan to restore the government amid the belief that Israeli officials have cultivated close ties with him.

Al-Burham dissolved the country’s transitional government led by Abdalla Hamdok on October 25, which had only been installed in 2019 after 30-year ruler Omar al-Bashir’s regime was overthrown.

Al-Burhan was a key player in last year’s diplomatic process in which Sudan established formal ties with Israel under the US-brokered Abraham Accords. However, American officials are said to have warned that the normalization process would stall if the current instability in Khartoum is not addressed.

An Israeli delegation reportedly visited Sudan in the aftermath of Hamdok’s ousting and met with top military brass in a bid to smooth over the precarious situation.

   

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The United States Senate has confirmed Thomas R. Nides as Washington’s new Ambassador to Israel following a voice vote among lawmakers.

Nides, who from 2011 to 2013 served as deputy secretary of state for management and resources under Hillary Clinton, has held various political positions, including serving as assistant to the House majority whip, executive assistant to the speaker of the House and as chief of staff for a number of members of Congress.

Congratulating Nides on Twitter, Israel’s Ambassador to the UN and US, Gilad Erdan, said, “I wish you much success in your role and a fruitful tenure at the US Embassy in Israel’s eternal capital, Jerusalem.” Erdan added: “I’m sure that you will further strengthen the special bond between Israel and the US.”

Speaking at his confirmation hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in September, Nides had stressed the importance of American funding for Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system.

“This is a defensive mechanism. It is to stop rockets from raining in on Israel. We are supportive of the replenishment and it is in our national security interest,” he said.

At the same meeting, Nides voiced his opposition to the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement and promised to continue supporting the Abraham Accords.

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