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Atmosphere in White House ‘not optimistic’ about Iran deal — Israeli official

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WASHINGTON — The atmosphere in the White House is “not optimistic” about returning to a nuclear deal with Iran, said a senior Israeli official after Prime Minister Naftali Bennett met with US President Joe Biden on Friday.

The official stressed that the fate of the agreement depends on Iran.

Bennett’s government opposes US efforts to return to the Iran nuclear agreement signed in 2015 by the Obama administration and abandoned three years later by Trump. Biden has been seeking a return to the deal, but this has looked increasingly unlikely as Iran has moved further away from its obligations and as a hardline president, Ebrahim Raisi, has taken office in Tehran.

During public remarks the two gave in the Oval Office, Biden still clarified that he prefers a diplomatic approach to block Iran’s path to the bomb, namely the revival of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. However, he said that “other options” would be pursued if those negotiations failed.

Later pressed on what was meant by other options, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki declined to elaborate. Israel has been pushing the US to put a “credible military threat” against Iran on the table while negotiating to curb its nuclear efforts.

Biden and his staff surprised their Israeli guests by the attention they gave to the Iranian threat and how important it was to them, the Israeli official said.

During the meeting in the White House, Bennett presented his two-pronged approach to dealing with Iran —........

© The Times of Israel

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