Biden Tells Mossad Chief US ‘Not Close’ To Deal While Iran Says Sanctions About To Be Lifted
An Israeli delegation of top officials has been in Washington seeking to persuade the White House to drop its pursuit of the JCPOA nuclear deal. Most notably among them is Mossad chief Yossi Cohen, who reportedly told Biden directly on Friday that any return to an unimproved deal would be a mistake.
Biden’s response was reported by Axios on Sunday as being that “the US has a long way to go in talks with Iran” before it would restore participation in the 2015 agreement. This after the president was said to have “dropped by” a one hour meeting that had been in progress. “Cohen was the only person to attend it from the Israeli side. Biden, Sullivan and CIA director Bill Burns attended from the US side,” Axios said.
Ironically Biden had previously sought to assure the world and the American public that he wouldn’t let Israel dictate the course of Iran nuclear talks; and yet Biden “assured” the Mossad director that Israeli input during future Vienna Iran talks would be welcomed and persistent.
Biden’s prior “warning” against Israeli interference came in response to alleged Israeli sabotage of the Islamic Republic’s Natanz nuclear site on April 11 just as the Vienna process kicked off. It’s widely perceived that Tel Aviv has stepped up covert attacks on Iranian assets in the region, including against Iranian tankers and vessels, in the hopes that an Iranian “reaction” will earn condemnation from Western allies and ultimately disrupt the Vienna talks.
Meanwhile Iranian officials were very optimistic as to progress of the talks over the weekend while National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said talks remained in an “unclear place”.
“Senior Israeli source” to @BarakRavid: “@POTUS told Mossad director Yossi Cohen that he’s happy to hear Israel’s position, but emphasized that an agreement with #Iran is a long way off.” https://t.co/ZxSScNRPpI
— Shalom Lipner (@ShalomLipner) May 2, 2021
One US media report indicated “sanctions on Iranian oil and banks will be lifted, Iran’s top negotiator told Iranian state media Saturday, based on agreements made at talks in Vienna.”
“Sanctions… on Iran’s energy sector, which include oil and gas, or those on the automotive industry, financial, banking and port sanctions, all should be lifted based on agreements reached so far,” Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi was cited in state media as saying.
The Biden administration has since last week strongly suggested it’s mulling a “wholesale rollback” of Trump-era sanctions – something which has angered national security hawks as well as Israeli leaders. But at this point nothing is certain, except for Tehran’s insistence that its patience is limited, and doesn’t want talks to “drag on”.
Mon, 05/03/2021 – 17:40