US and Israel hold talks on Iranian nuclear diplomacy and security threats | Joe Biden News
Bilateral talks come as Biden seeks to restore the 2015 Iran nuclear deal backed by the UN and abandoned by Trump.
Officials from the United States and Israel met by video conference on Thursday to discuss the security challenges of the two countries in the Middle East, as well as the Biden administration’s plan to resume diplomacy with Iran on nuclear weapons .
US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan and his Israeli counterpart Meir Ben-Shabbat attended the first bilateral security meeting between the United States and Israel since President Joe Biden took office in January.
It came as the Biden administration sought to revert to a 2015 nuclear deal that saw Iran agree to curb its nuclear program in return for lifting international sanctions.
“It is vital for the president, for the administration that, as we consider approaching diplomacy and moving towards a diplomatic route to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon,” that Israel be informed plans, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said.
Israel has criticized for years and sought to derail this international agreement, from which former US President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew in 2018 in favor of his administration’s “maximum pressure” strategy against the Iranian government.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who campaigned against the agreement, recently hinted that Israel might resort to military action against Iran, The Associated Press reported.
“We are not placing our hopes on any deal with an extremist regime like yours,” Netanyahu said in a recent speech against Iran. “With or without agreements – we will do everything to ensure that you do not arm yourself with nuclear weapons.”
Senior Israeli officials, including Defense Minister Benny Gantz, have said Israel is improving its contingency plans to attack Iran if it appears to be stepping up nuclear activities.
Psaki said Biden was on “a diplomatic track” with Iran and that administration officials believe Israeli opposition to diplomacy had “subsided a bit” after Iran demonstrated – while the agreement was still in force – that it respected the limits imposed on its uranium enrichment.
“There was a recognition of the advantage of visibility on the ground. We don’t have that now. We haven’t had it since the Trump administration withdrew from the deal, ”Psaki said.
“We know very well the concerns that Israel has expressed and this is one of the reasons why we involve them so closely around this issue and many others,” she said.
While the United States and Israel have been staunch allies for decades, bilateral relations have reached new heights under Trump.
After withdrawal of the nuclear deal negotiated under his predecessor, former President Barack Obama, Trump imposed punitive economic sanctions on Iran. He moved the United States Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, recognized Israel’s occupation of the Syrian Golan Heights, and cut funding for the United Nations agency for Palestinian refugees.
While Biden said he planned to restore funding to the Palestinians, he does not intend to return the US embassy to Tel Aviv and supports the normalization agreements of the Abrahamic accords negotiated by Trump between Israel and the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Sudan and Morocco.
Palestinians rejected the Abrahamic Accords as a betrayal. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the Biden administration plans to review some of the incentives and arms deals that Trump has offered as part of the deals.
Blinken told US lawmakers on Wednesday that Biden had pledged to consult with Israel and Arab countries, “regarding anything we may do in the future. [the Iran nuclear agreement]According to the Associated Press.