New Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett plans to promote a new strategy on Iran during his first visit to the White House. He says he will urge US President Joe Biden not to renew the 2015 nuclear deal with Tehran.
Biden’s aides hope that the talks will set a positive tone for his relationship with Bennett, a far-right politician and a millionaire who made a fortune in technology. In June, he put an end to Benjamin Netanyahu’s record-breaking 12-year career as prime minister. His tenure was marked by years of tension between the conservative Netanyahu, who was close to Donald Trump, and the last Democratic administration led by Barack Obama with Biden as his vice president.
The leaders ‘ meeting gives the US administration an opportunity to demonstrate the usual conduct of business with its closest ally in the Middle East while it is struggling with the chaotic situation in Afghanistan, Biden’s biggest foreign policy crisis since he came to power.
The negotiations will be relatively restrained, writes Arab News. The two leaders are expected to briefly address a small group of reporters during talks in the Oval Office, but will not hold a joint press conference.
Bennett is as adamant as Netanyahu, promising not to allow Iran, which Israel sees as an existential threat, to develop nuclear weapons. “Iran is making rapid progress in uranium enrichment and has already significantly reduced the time required to accumulate the material needed for a single nuclear bomb,” the Israeli leader said.
Bennett revealed that he would tell Biden: “It’s time to stop the Iranians, and not give them a lifeline in the form of re-entering the expired nuclear deal.” The US official said that Bennett’s expected pleas to the Biden administration to stop efforts to renew the agreement are unlikely to bear fruit.
In 2018, Trump withdrew the United States from the deal between six world powers and Iran. He considered it too profitable for Tehran and re-imposed US sanctions. In a report published last week by Reuters, the International Atomic Energy Agency reported that Iran has accelerated uranium enrichment to near weapons-grade levels.
Iran has consistently denied trying to build a bomb, but the country’s enrichment has increased tensions with the West, as both sides seek to resume negotiations on renewing their deal to limit Tehran’s nuclear activities in exchange for the lifting of sanctions.
Bennett told the government that he would present Biden with “an orderly plan that we have formulated over the past two months to curb the Iranians both in the nuclear sphere and in relation to regional aggression.” He did not give any details.
The official representative of the US State Department, Ned Price, indicated: “I leave it to the Israeli Prime Minister to present to the American president any thoughts that the Israeli government may have when it comes to Iran. ”
Bennett, 49, is the son of American immigrants in Israel. A former head of the Israeli West Bank Settler Council, he heads a coalition of left, right, centrist and Arab parties. The Biden administration has already made it clear that it opposes further expansion of Jewish settlements Until now, Bennett, who advocated expansion in the West Bank, is cautious about the settlement issue.