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U.S. tries reassure Israel over possible Iran deal

The Biden administration in recent days has been wanting to reassure Israel that it hasnt decided to new concessions with Iran and a nuclear deal isnt imminent, U.S. and Israeli officials told Axios.

Yes, but: Israeli officials said theyre not reassured.

State of play: Iran gave a formal response this week to your final proposal from the EU, which includes been mediating between your U.S. and Iran.

  • That increased speculation a deal could possibly be close, and resulted in friction between your U.S. and Israel, which opposes a restoration of the 2015 nuclear deal.
  • The Israeli concerns were exacerbated by the truth that the country happens to be within an election campaign.
  • In case a nuclear deal is announced prior to the November election, it might give political ammunition to opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu to utilize against Prime Minister Yair Lapid.

Driving the news headlines: During the last week, White House officials assured their Israeli counterparts that despite claims in the press, there were no new concessions to Iran, U.S. officials said.

  • But last Thursday, senior Israeli officials briefed reporters that Lapid had told the White House that the EU draft goes beyond the 2015 deal and crosses the Biden administrations own red lines.

Behind the scenes: The press reports surprised the White House, which on Thursday and Friday sought to reassure the Israelis once again that it wasnt the Biden administration offering concessions but Iran, which dropped its demand the brand new Guards be taken off a U.S. terror blacklist.

  • A deal may be closer than it had been fourteen days ago however the outcome remains uncertain as some gaps remain. Regardless, it doesnt appear to be imminent, a U.S. official told Axios, describing the message that has been directed at the Israelis.
  • Israeli officials confirmed there is intense dialogue with the U.S. in recent days, and that some of the discussions remained nowadays and became more challenging, the press briefing was designed to make certain the White House understood how serious Israels concerns were.
  • Israeli national security adviser Eyal Hulata will meet his White House counterpart Jake Sullivan in Washington next Tuesday and Israeli officials expect more tough discussions. We have been not reassured. We have been very concerned, one told Axios.

What theyre saying: Israeli officials say that despite the fact that the discussions with the U.S. on Iran became tougher recently, Lapid does not have any intention of going on a public campaign against Biden round the nuclear cope with Iran.

  • Our policy isn’t to attain a public confrontation with the U.S. just like the one that has had invest 2015. We shall not ruin the partnership with the Biden administration like Netanyahu did with Obama, a senior Israeli official said.
  • The White House National Security Council spokesperson Adrienne Watson said: We have been in intensive and constant discussions with Israel on Iran. National Security Adviser Hulata is coming in a few days to Washington. There is absolutely no greater supporter of Israels security than President Biden.

Between your lines: Even though Israeli governments official position would be to oppose a U.S. go back to the 2015 nuclear deal, several current and former senior defense and intelligence officials think differently.

  • The existing head of Israeli military intelligence, Gen. Aharon Haliva, told the security cabinet many times lately that a go back to the 2015 nuclear deal will serve Israels interests.
  • Defense Minister Benny Gantz also said in private that the existing limbo with Iran is worse when compared to a return to the offer.
  • Former head of military intelligence, retired Gen. Tamir Hayman, wrote on Twitter Friday that the offer being discussed is bad, but nonetheless necessary to be able to roll back Iran’s nuclear program and leave time and energy to make a military option.

What things to watch: The White House and hawaii Department remain reviewing and studying the Iranian reaction to the EU draft agreement. It isn’t clear once the U.S. gives its response in private and in public areas.

Go deeper: Not walking from Iran nuclear talks shows “weakness,” Lapid tells U.S.

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