To replace Netanyahu, Israel tries diplomacy with US over Iran deal

Israel has tried to influence the Biden administration’s approach to the Iran nuclear deal in a series of high-level meetings with US officials, Israeli officials tell me.

Why is this important: Under former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel did not engage with the Biden administration over the deal except to vehemently oppose it and stress that Israel would not be limited by it. Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and his new government are also opposed to the deal, but are trying to engage with the United States on the issue.

“Bennett and Lapid disagree with the Biden administration on the nuclear deal. But unlike Netanyahu, who just rejected him outright and refused to commit, the new government wants to try to influence the outcome and discuss the details privately with the Biden administration. “

– Senior Israeli official, in Axios.

Go back: Netanyahu has ordered all Israeli officials to refuse to discuss details of the deal and the negotiations surrounding it with their American counterparts.

  • Many Israeli officials have argued that Netanyahu’s policies and public criticism of the Obama and Biden administrations over the deal only isolated Israel and left it without influence on the negotiations.

Inventory: The new Israeli approach comes at a critical time. After six rounds of indirect talks with Iran, the Biden administration is hoping for a return to the deal in a few weeks.

Driving the news: Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff General Aviv Kohavi met with National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan at the White House on Wednesday. Both sides said the meeting focused on Iran, and an IDF spokesperson said Kohavi had focused on the flaws in the deal and what could be done to alleviate them.

  • Kohavi also discussed ways to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon and responding to Iran’s regional activity with Sullivan and in meetings with CIA Director Bill Burns and Director of National Intelligence April Haines.

And after: Foreign Minister Yair Lapid is expected to hold his first meeting with Secretary of State Tony Blinken in Rome on Sunday.

  • Israeli officials said Lapid should stress Israel’s reservations about a U.S. return to the deal and point out several conditions that Israel believes the U.S. should demand of Iran as part of a return to the deal. ‘agreement.
  • On Monday, Israeli President Reuven Rivlin will meet with President Biden at the White House. Rivlin met with Bennett and Lapid on Wednesday to coordinate the message to the United States on Iran.

To note: Bennett is just as hawkish as Netanyahu on Iran, but Netanyahu has repeatedly claimed that Bennett was not strong enough to stand up to Biden over the nuclear deal.

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