Thursday, May 26, 2022

Biden to visit Israel in coming months, Iran in focus

US President Joe Biden agreed to visit Israel in the coming months during a call with Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett on Sunday. Iran is taking the center stage during the forthcoming talks.

In a readout of the call, the White House said Biden and Bennett also spoke about shared regional and global security issues, including “the threat Iran and its proxies present.”

The call comes as negotiations to revive the Iran Nuclear Deal continue in Vienna. Then-President Donald Trump pulled the US out of the landmark agreement in 2018.

Biden stated on the campaign trail that he is committed to reviving the deal, and negotiators have reported sporadic progress in recent months — though Iran continues to demand assurances that the next administration not renege on the deal.

Israel is against revitalizing the nuclear agreement, first established under President Barack Obama in 2015, because it believes it would only embolden Iran by dropping sanctions on Tehran.

The White House on Sunday announced Biden and Bennett “emphasized the strong personal bond they have developed since the Prime Minister’s visit to Washington last summer.”

“This personal relationship has animated the work of our diplomatic and national security teams, enabling both countries to arrive at common positions on difficult matters,” the White House added.

Biden during the call also asserted his support for Israel and continued US defense aid.

The House passed legislation in September to provide $1 billion for Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system, despite some progressives objecting to the funding.

Additionally, the readout said Biden “took note of ongoing efforts between Israeli and Palestinian officials to lower tensions and ensure a peaceful conclusion to the holy season of Ramadan.”

Dozens of Palestinians, including journalists, were injured on Friday when Israeli forces entered the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in occupied East Jerusalem.

The readout did not mention Russia or Ukraine, despite the fact that Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine entered its third month on Sunday.

Israel has served as a quasi-mediator during the conflict, attempting to assist with diplomatic efforts, with Bennett visiting Moscow last month.

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SourceThe Hill

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