Israel's prime minister reconsidering Iran policy ahead of meeting with Biden: reports

Israel's prime minister reconsidering Iran policy ahead of meeting with Biden: reports
The new Israeli administration has adopted a softer tone on Iran compared to Netanyahu’s government - recently stating that the country will engage constructively in talks over an Iran nuclear deal.
2 min read
08 July, 2021
Bennett held his first policy meeting on the Iran nuclear deal on Sunday [Getty]

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett is reconsidering Israel’s policy on Iran ahead of his meeting with US President Joe Biden later this month, according to reports. 

Bennett, who rules over a diverse coalition after ousting Benjamin Netanyahu from power after 12 years, has launched a review of the country’s Iran policy, said US news website Axios. 

The review will assess the Israeli stance on a nuclear deal between Iran and global powers, which was enacted in 2015 to curb Iran’s nuclear armoury, and abandoned by the Trump administration in 2018, an unnamed Israeli official told the outlet.

“There are several questions in the discussions,” an unnamed Israeli official said. “Is the current treading water better or worse than a US return to the deal, if and how Israel can influence the Biden administration, and what the current situation means for developing an Israeli military option”.

Biden said he wants to re-establish a nuclear deal, and recent talks between Iran and global powers have shown some signs of progress towards restoring the 2015 landmark agreement. However, latest reports say Iran has begun the process of producing enriched uranium metal, a move that could help it develop a nuclear weapon and has dismayed European powers. 




“One change is already clear: Bennett wants to avoid a public clash with the Biden administration,” wrote Barak Ravid in Axios. 

Previously, Israel fiercely opposed the 2015 deal - which Netanyahu condemned as a “historic mistake”.

In recent weeks, however, Israel's new government has struck a softer tone. 

Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid told his American counterpart that Israel had “serious reservations” about the accord under discussion in Vienna but that the country would engage constructively and make its objections privately.

This is not the only foreign policy shift under Israel’s new leadership. 

Bennett approved a deal with Jordan, attempting to repair relations that soured during Netanyahu’s leadership, and approved a vaccine deal with the Palestinian Authority, which was later called off as the vaccines were close to expiring. 

Lapid will travel to Brussels to meet with EU foreign ministers next week.

He has vowed to "change, improve and deepen the dialogue between Israel and Europe," according to reports.