President Joe Biden is tightening his focus on a renegotiated nuclear deal with Iran and expanding the team’s size he has assembled to work on a new agreement. The renewal of efforts in working with Iran comes on the heels of Biden’s meeting with Israeli prime minister Naftali Bennett. Bennett urged Biden to end negotiations with Iran.
The Washington Free Beacon reported that Biden’s ambassador to Israel, Dan Shapiro, acts as a State Department advisor on the Iran negotiation. The makeup of the new Iran team indicates Biden’s intention to move forward with securing a new nuclear deal despite Iran’s insistence on the lifting of all U.S. economic sanctions.
The appointment of Shapiro as a part-time advisor also shows that the Biden administration does not intend to follow Israel’s advice to cease negotiation with Iran. During his first visit to Washington, White House officials had previously told Bennett that the administration would not back away from replacing the nuclear deal that President Trump terminated during his term.
In his most recent visit, Bennett told Biden and State Department officials that Israel is concerned that relieving Iran from economic sanctions and negotiating a new nuclear deal will encourage the regime to face serious financial problems. Those concerns have been enhanced since the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan as the U.S. was withdrawing military forces there.
Shapiro was involved in controversy during his time in the Obama administration. He faced allegations that he had a hand in interference with elections in Israel intended to affect then-prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu adversely. It was reported that someone inside the State Department destroyed emails about the election issues that Congress had requested.
A White House spokesman told the Free Beacon that Biden remained committed to ensuring that Iran does not develop a nuclear weapon. However, there was no statement about whether Israel’s concerns were considered in Iranian negotiations.