Report: Israel Seeking to Engage Biden on Iran Policy
The Israeli government is currently in the process of developing a strategy to influence the incoming Biden administration’s Iran policy, Axios reported on Wednesday.
According to Axios, Israeli officials believe it is almost certain that President-elect Joe Biden will seek to revive the Iran nuclear deal that current President Donald Trump withdrew the US from in 2018.
Their assessment, the report said, is that Biden intends to “return to the deal if Iran returns to compliance and then attempt to negotiate a broader, longer-lasting agreement.”
At a Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee hearing last week, Israeli Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi reportedly said that his ministry’s goal was to “make sure any future nuclear deal with Iran contains elements that are important for Israel.”
“In his view, that means convincing Biden to link the nuclear issue to Iran’s missile program and regional behavior,” the Axios report noted.
Referring to 2015, when Israel was largely ignored by the Obama administration as the original nuclear deal was negotiated, Ashkenazi was quoted as saying, “We don’t want to be left out again.”
The report also said the Israeli Foreign Ministry had “already made preliminary contacts with members of the Biden transition team to establish channels of communication.”
Earlier this week, Israel’s outgoing ambassador to the US, Ron Dermer, urged Biden to not reenter the nuclear deal with Iran.
“The Biden administration will be making a mistake if it goes back to the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran,” Dermer was quoted as saying during a panel discussion — hosted by the Economic Club of Washington, DC — with the US envoys of the UAE and Bahrain.
Dermer — whose term as ambassador will be ending in January, when he will be replaced by Gilad Erdan — advised Biden, “Sit with your allies in the region. Talk to us in order to get to a common position on Iran. Not only on the nuclear issue but also about the Iranian aggression in the region. It will put the US in a much better position to deal with Iran.”