Blinken says Israel, US ‘eye to eye’ on preventing Iran getting nuclear weapon

Lazar Berman is The Times of Israel's diplomatic reporter

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken at a press conference in Jerusalem, March 27, 2022 (Screen grab)
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken at a press conference in Jerusalem, March 27, 2022 (Screen grab)

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken says in his press conference with Yair Lapid that “we see eye to eye,” on the most important issue on Iran’s nuclear program — keeping Iran from achieving a nuclear weapon.

At the same time, he says that the JCPOA is the best way “to put Iran’s nuclear program back in the box it was in.”

“Beyond its nuclear efforts, Iran continues to engage in a whole series of destabilizing activities,” he says.

He also condemns Houthi attacks on Saudi and Emirati civilians and infrastructure.

“The US will continue to stand up to Iran when its threatens us or when it threatens our allies and partners,” he says.

“We are fully committed to expanding cooperation through the Abraham Accords,” says Blinken, ahead of today’s Negev Summit with foreign ministers from Arab countries.

He thanks Lapid for his leadership in finding new opportunities for the Abraham Accords.

“We greatly appreciate Israel’s strong repudiation of Russia’s aggression against Ukraine,” he says. He adds that he appreciates Israel’s efforts to not be used as a sanctions bypass.

Blinken was briefed by Israel’s senior expert on the issue before the press conference.

The top US envoy praises Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s mediation efforts in Ukraine, and the Shining Star field hospital in Ukraine.

He says the people of Israel are standing with Ukraine, citing protests in Tel Aviv and the work of United Hatzalah.

Blinken says he will discuss the effects of the Ukraine conflict in the region with regional partners at the upcoming Negev Summit.

“Normalization is becoming the new normal,” he says.

He points to the US funding of Iron Dome system, and condemned last week’s stabbing attack in Beersheba.

Blinken says he will reiterate to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas the Biden administration’s commitment to strengthening ties with the PA.

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