Representatives from Israel and several Gulf Arab nations want their countries to have a seat at the table when the Biden administration begins negotiating with Iran next year, Politico reports.
Ambassadors to the United States from Israel, the United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain — the countries involved in the Abraham Accords — told Politico they have more at stake than the U.S. and European countries who crafted the original Iran nuclear deal in 2015, and they think the U.S. is in a stronger position now than during the Obama administration. The U.S. would sacrifice leverage by rehashing the old agreement, Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. Ron Dermer said. If regional partners were included in the negotiations, they believe they could help secure a brand new agreement that not only makes it more challenging for Iran to build a nuclear weapon, but also one that targets its ballistic missiles program and use of proxy militias.
Robert Satloff, the executive director of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, agrees Biden should not "freeze" the parties out of talks. "After all, what the Biden administration should want is not just an agreement that the Iranians accept, but one that will last," he told Politico.
Still, Politico notes, people in Biden's orbit remember Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu working hard to "scuttle the 2015 nuclear agreement, making moves many of them deemed downright insulting" to former President Barack Obama. Therefore, they fear Israel and the Arab states may "act as spoilers" in future talks."Renegotiating everything is just unrealistic to anybody who talks to an Iranian," the official said. "The idea that we have leverage to just start over is nice in theory, but in practice there's no way the Iranians will go for it," one former U.S. official said. "If Biden comes in and that's the stand, the Iranians will be convinced that there's no serious engaging with the U.S." Read more at Politico.