VOA – Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett is expected to urge his American counterpart to take a hard-line stance on Iran in the first meeting between the two leaders Thursday.
Bennett, elected to office two months ago, is making his first visit to Washington this week. Before he left Israel, he reiterated that he would push President Joe Biden on his stance on Iran.
“I will tell President Biden that it is time to stop the Iranians … not to give them a lifeline in the form of reentering into an expired nuclear deal,” Bennett said Sunday.
The 2015 agreement lifted sanctions on Iran in return for Tehran strictly observing limits on its nuclear program. Biden has offered to rejoin the deal if Iran returns to full compliance with its nuclear provisions. But negotiations in Vienna, Austria, two months ago stalled without much resolution.
Still, both Bennett and Biden have said they are looking forward to resetting a balance between the two governments. Bennett’s predecessor, Benjamin Netanyahu, was publicly supportive of former President Donald Trump.
Shortly before his departure for the U.S. on Tuesday, Bennett told reporters he hoped to bring “a new spirit of cooperation” from Israel to the U.S.
Earlier this year, just weeks after Bennett took office, Foreign Minister Yair Lapid and U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken met in Rome. Before their meeting, Lapid acknowledged that “in the past few years, mistakes were made” in relations between the two countries, with Netanyahu closely aligning himself with Trump and Republicans in the U.S. Congress, at times to the exclusion of close ties with Democratic officials.
“Israel’s bipartisan standing was hurt,” Lapid said. “We will fix those mistakes together.”
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Trump’s administration most notably moved the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem — a move Biden criticized but has not said he will reverse. In the past, he proposed opening a U.S. consulate in East Jerusalem to engage with the Palestinians.
Some information for this report came from Reuters and AFP.