Iran tops agenda for Blinken, Lapid meeting as nuclear talks said to resume soon

Progress made since the signing of the Abraham Accords last year, future opportunities for collaboration, and bilateral issues will be discussed.

By Lauren Marcus, World Israel News

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken will meet with Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid and Emirati Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed, both individually and within a trilateral meeting.

According to the State Department, the officials will “discuss progress made since the signing of the Abraham Accords last year, future opportunities for collaboration, and bilateral issues, including regional security and stability.”

Lapid is not expected to meet with President Joe Biden during the trip.

The announcement about the talks comes on the heels of a statement from Tehran that the Iranian government is ready to renew long-stalled talks on a potential nuclear deal.

Iran Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian told media during a visit to Russia last week that the Islamic Republic is gearing up to resume negotiations.

The return to talks will happen “very soon,” he said, without giving a specific date or time frame.

Before meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, Amir-Abdollahian brought up increased tensions between Iran and Azerbaijan, which has friendly relations with Israel.

Tehran expects Russia “to be sensitive about any potential changes in borders across the region, and be sensitive about the presence of terrorists and the movements of the Zionist regime that threatens regional peace and stability,” Al Jazeera quoted Amir-Abdollahian as saying.

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The Iranian lawmaker’s visit to Russia signals a growing closeness between the two nations, which Amir-Abdollahian confirmed in a statement.

He also acknowledged that China is becoming a critical ally for Iran.

“This doesn’t mean that we’ll be dependent on China and Russia, but from a strategic point of view, we’ll use existing capacities to further the interests of both nations,” he said.

Analysts from the Eurasia Group, a political risk consultancy firm, said the likelihood of talks going smoothly is low.

“Given the pace of its nuclear advancements, Iran is nearing the point at which the nuclear deal’s non-proliferation benefits will be unrecoverable without major changes to the accord, at which Tehran would balk,” analysts from the group told CNBC.