Monday, March 1

Netanyahu confronts Biden for the first time as the US returns to the nuclear pact with Iran | International


Joe Biden, then vice president of the United States, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in 2016 in Jerusalem.
Joe Biden, then vice president of the United States, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in 2016 in Jerusalem.DEBBIE HILL / AFP

A few hours after receiving the first call from the new US president on Wednesday night, Benjamin Netanyahu confirmed that the Democratic Administration was willing to negotiate a return to the nuclear agreement with Iran, from which Washington dissociated itself in 2018. The first Israeli minister, who for more than a decade has been warning that the Iranian atomic program poses an existential threat to the Jewish state, has stood up to Joe Biden for the first time. “Our position on the nuclear agreement has not changed and we remain ready to prevent Iran from equipping itself with atomic weapons,” the head of the Israeli Government warned in a statement on Friday. “We believe that returning to the old pact will pave the way for Tehran towards a nuclear arsenal.”

The call from the White House, long awaited in Jerusalem for almost a month, was reported to the press with an exaltation of the special relationship between the two countries. But the message has brought consequences of disagreement. Despite the fact that the Prime Minister’s own Cabinet has recognized “close contact with the United States on this matter” and that the Biden Administration had made it known that Israel was warned in advance of the shift in its policy towards Iran, the words of Netanyahu show unequivocal discomfort at the foreseeable end of Washington’s maximum pressure strategy on Iran. After the rupture of the nuclear agreement by the Administration of Republican Donald Trump, the White House reinstated the sanctions on the Iranian regime that had been lifted as a result of the signing of the JCPOA [siglas inglesas del acuerdo] in 2015.

The US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, told his counterparts from the United Kingdom, France and Germany on Thursday night that, if Iran returns to strictly respect its commitments to the great powers (including Russia and China), “United States he will do the same and will be willing to discuss discussions with Iran. “

This same Friday, after the Prime Minister of Israel expressed his disagreement with Biden’s turn, the Department of State has communicated that Washington was also willing to “accept an invitation from the high representative of the European Union to attend a meeting (of the great powers) with Iran on the nuclear program.” In the middle of the Shabbat, the Jewish holy day from late afternoon on Friday, Israel has kept strict silence.

The Israeli ambassador to the US in Washington, Gilad Erdan, had already announced on Tuesday that Israel will not support the reactivation of the nuclear agreement. Erdan, minister in all Netanyahu governments from 2009 to 2020, stressed that Israel defends the application of “crippling sanctions” and a “credible military threat” on Tehran to stop the development of its atomic program. “If the United States returns to the same agreement from which it withdrew, it will lose all its lobbying capacity,” predicted this hawk on the Israeli right, who has not hidden in the past the ambition to succeed Netanyahu in power.

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