President Joe Biden has made it clear that he hopes to fully re-enter the 2015 Iran nuclear agreement, which was reached when he was vice president under former President Barack Obama.
The U.S. subsequently withdrew from that agreement during the Trump administration — and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu recently explained that he wants it to stay that way.
“None is greater than Iran”
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken was in Jerusalem on Tuesday for the first leg of a regional trip that is also slated to include a visit with Palestinian, Egyptian, and Jordanian leaders as part of a diplomatic effort to secure a lasting cease-fire to the recent hostilities between Hamas and Israel.
In his remarks alongside Blinken, Netanyahu initially expressed gratitude toward the Biden administraiton for its support during the recent conflict.
He wasted little time, however, before insisting that Israel would in no way support the U.S. plan to restart a nuclear agreement with Iran.
Netanyahu shared his belief that doing so would further embolden Iran and increase the existential threat of the Islamic Republic with access to nuclear weapons.
“We discussed many regional issues, but none is greater than Iran,” the Israeli prime minister said. “And I can tell you that I hope that the United States will not go back to the old JCPOA because we believe that the deal paves the way for Iran to have an arsenal of nuclear weapons with international legitimacy.”
“Consulting closely with Israel”
Netanyahu said he also spoke with Blinen about Israel’s “right to defend itself against a regime committed to our destruction, committed to getting the weapons of mass destruction for that end.”
For his part, Blinken appears to dismiss the rebuke, though he suggested that the Biden administration remains committed to pursuing a rehashed nuclear agreement.
“We’ll continue to strengthen all aspects of our longstanding partnership,” Blinken said.
Part of that alliance, he added, “includes consulting closely with Israel, as we did today, on the ongoing negotiations in Vienna around a potential return to the Iran nuclear agreement, at the same time as we continue to work together to counter Iran’s destabilizing actions in the region.”
Of course, with bipartisan opposition back at home, Biden might find that returning to the Iran deal is no easy task.