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PM will offer Biden strategy to handle Iran without nuclear deal — sources

Lazar Berman is The Times of Israel's diplomatic reporter

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett holds a press conference at the Prime Minister's Office in Jerusalem, on August 18, 2021. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett holds a press conference at the Prime Minister's Office in Jerusalem, on August 18, 2021. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

During his upcoming trip to Washington, DC, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett will present to US President Joe Biden a strategy for confronting both Iran’s nuclear program and its regional activities without returning to the JCPOA nuclear agreement, according to diplomatic sources.

He will argue that Iran’s nuclear program has advanced too far for the JCPOA to have any relevance in 2021. Though it might plug some holes on the enrichment side, it gives the Islamic Republic way too much in return, he will say.

The sources say the pace of Iranian uranium enrichment is “dizzying and worrisome.” And they criticize the previous government’s handling of the Iranian issue, saying they had received “a very difficult inheritance.”

The prime minister has been involved in a deep policy review process on the Iran issue since entering office, and believes that a return to the deal is no longer a given, according to diplomatic sources.

Bennett sees the Iranian nuclear issue as a challenge for Israel and its allies, and an opportunity to develop a new broad regional strategy for confronting Tehran.

There are no major concessions expected to be announced to the Palestinians during the trip.

Bennett takes off for his first official visit to the US on Tuesday at 4 p.m.

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