Israeli foreign minister to meet with US officials on Iran

Israeli foreign minister to meet with US officials on Iran
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Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid is scheduled to travel to the U.S. next week to meet with top administration officials about Iran.

Israel's top diplomat will be in Washington from Oct. 12 though Oct. 14, during which time he will hold discussions with Secretary of State Antony BlinkenAntony BlinkenOvernight Defense & National Security — Inside Austin's civilian harm directive North Korea sparks US condemnation with latest missile launch Republicans again call for Oversight hearing on Afghanistan withdrawal MORE, national security adviser Jake SullivanJake SullivanOvernight Defense & National Security — Inside Austin's civilian harm directive Republicans again call for Oversight hearing on Afghanistan withdrawal Biden's first year: A mirage of gender parity MORE and Vice President Harris, multiple news outlets reported on Wednesday, citing Lapid’s office.

The string of meetings come as the U.S. and Iran are at a stalemate in their nuclear talks.

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President BidenJoe BidenCourt nixes offshore drilling leases auctioned by Biden administration Laquan McDonald's family pushes for federal charges against officer ahead of early release Biden speaks with Ukrainian president amid Russian threat MORE has said he wants Iran to re-enter the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action — the nuclear deal that was brokered under the Obama administration in 2015, which former President TrumpDonald TrumpMark Walker to stay in North Carolina Senate race Judge lays out schedule for Eastman to speed up records processing for Jan. 6 panel Michael Avenatti cross-examines Stormy Daniels in his own fraud trial MORE withdrew from in 2018 — contending that the agreement is the only way the U.S. can stop Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.

Nuclear talks had been underway in Vienna but they were ultimately adjourned in June. Now, the U.S. has only been engaging in indirect talks through its allies.

Since the U.S. pulled out of the accord, Tehran has been enriching uranium beyond its limits, and a United Nations nuclear watchdog has said Iran is not complying with its nuclear monitoring deal because it did not allow inspectors to access one of its manufacturing workshops.

Newly elected Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, during a speech to the United Nations last month, called for nuclear talks to resume.

Earlier this month, however, the country’s foreign minister, Hossein Amirabdollahian, asked that the U.S. unfreeze $10 billion of its funds to restart nuclear discussions.

Israel is now looking to develop a backup plan for if the U.S.’s talks with Iran fail, according to Axios.

Lapid and Blinken also met in June during a trip to Rome, according to The Jerusalem Post.

Sullivan met with his Israeli counterpart, Israel’s national security adviser Eyal Hulata, on Tuesday, as part of a chain of meetings between the U.S. and Israeli officials to talk about their military, diplomatic and intelligence communities.

The White House emphasized that diplomacy remains the ideal course of action when it comes to nuclear talks.

“We, of course, remain committed to a diplomatic path,” a senior administration official said.

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett slammed Iran last week, during his own speech to the U.N. General Assembly, saying that the Islamic republic had crossed all nuclear red lines.

“Iran's nuclear weapons program is at a critical point. All red lines have been crossed,” Bennett said.

“Iran's nuclear program has hit a watershed moment, and so has our tolerance. Words do not stop centrifuges from spinning,” he added, promising that Israel “will not allow Iran to acquire a nuclear weapon.”

The Hill reached out to the Israeli foreign ministry for more information.