US pessimistic on Iran deal, will consider Israeli options: Report

The U.S. is not holding out hope for an Iranian return to the 2015 nuclear deal, said a Bennett staffer.

By Lauren Marcus, World Israel News

The U.S. is not holding out hope for an Iranian return to the 2015 nuclear deal, and the Biden administration is open to considering options floated by Israel regarding the Iranian threat, according to a report published on Thursday.

A senior member of Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s staff told the Times of Israel that the U.S. was willing to listen to Israel’s proposals on managing Iran’s nuclear program, in a stark departure from Obama-era policies which saw Israel left outside of negotiations as the American administration entered into a deal.

According to the insider from Bennett’s team, after months of stalling by Tehran as they continue uranium enrichment in violation of the 2015 nuclear deal, the U.S. is pessimistic about a potential return to compliance with the deal.

Israel’s concerns and proposals were met with “significant attention” from Biden’s team, because “they themselves understand that it may be that we find ourselves in a reality without an agreement, and [even] if there is an agreement, there are holes that must be filled.”

The staffer added that Bennett’s trip to Washington was a major success for the new Israeli prime minister, as he achieved his goals of advancing talks on a U.S.- Israel visa waiver program, to secure a U.S. commitment for replenishing the Iron Dome, to promote Israel’s perspective on the Iranian threat, and to make a personal connection with the American president.

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“These were the four things that we wanted to come home with, and I think we are certainly returning home with our arms full,” the staffer told TOI.

The Biden administration is understanding of Israel’s security needs, and holds Hamas responsible for the recent uptick of violence along the border with Gaza that saw an Israeli sniper shot at point blank range, the staffer said.

American officials publicly reaffirmed the special relationship between the U.S. and Israel during Bennett’s visit.

“The U.S. is committed to strengthening its strategic relationship with Israel. The administration is committed to Israel’s security and its right to self-defense,” said Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin in a press statement Wednesday before meeting with Bennett.