Manama, Bahrain-At an international meeting in Bahrain on Sunday, the Biden and Israeli governments diverged over nuclear negotiations with Iran.
Why is it important: In recent months, the two sides have been trying to resolve their differences in private and avoid open conflicts, but this has become increasingly difficult as negotiations with Iran will resume in Vienna on November 29.
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Driving news: The closing ceremony of the annual Manama Dialogue brought together Israel’s National Security Adviser Eyar Hullata and President Biden’s Senior Middle East Adviser Brett McGurk.
Hurata and McGurk tried to unite the front, but from the opening speech, they showed different positions in front of dozens of officials and experts from the Gulf and Western countries.
The Israeli official talked about the need to prevent Iran from having a “nuclear breakthrough” capability, while his American counterpart talked about the Biden administration’s efforts to prevent Iran from “acquiring nuclear weapons.”
In the Q&A session, as Hurata and McGurk disagreed about the need for additional pressure on Iran now and whether credible military threats are needed to prevent Iran from further advancing its nuclear program, the differences are not only subtle.
What are they talking about: Former Mossad general Hurata, who spoke publicly for the first time, said that Iran will stop its efforts to acquire nuclear weapons only when the world decisively opposes Iran. “Israel will resist Iran if needed, and we are preparing for this,” he said.
On the other hand, McGurk said that the United States is focusing on the Vienna talks and hopes that diplomacy will be successful. McGurk said that only if it fails, the Biden administration will consider other options. He added that military actions may damage Iran’s nuclear program but will not change its behavior.
Biden’s advisers emphasized that the Trump administration’s decision to withdraw from the 2015 nuclear agreement enabled Iran to substantially advance its nuclear program, adding that the former president’s maximum pressure campaign on Iran had failed. McGurk said: “We don’t imagine that more pressure will change the regime or cause Iranians to change their behavior.”
Hurata refuted this statement. “Iran will not make concessions just because we are asking them well. They don’t work like that. Whoever says that pressure doesn’t work, you need to look at how pressure from the Republican and Democratic governments makes Iran change its policies,” he Say.
What’s next: In the upcoming talks in Vienna, Iran’s new negotiating team is expected to present a position on the draft agreement reached before the Iranian presidential election in June.
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