The Biden administration’s review of Iran’s response to the final E.U. draft agreement has been completed, and its response has been conveyed to the Europeans, says U.S. State Department spokesman Ned Price.
Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid called U.S. President Joe Biden but was told by the White House that the president is “on vacation,” according to Israeli media reports.
The Biden administration has responded to Iran’s latest offer to re-enter the 2015 nuclear deal, State Department spokesman Ned Price confirmed on Wednesday.
“As you know, we received Iran’s comments on the E.U.’s proposed final text through the E.U. Our review of those comments has now concluded, and we have responded to the E.U. today,” Price said at a State Department press conference.
“This negotiation at times has languished for months upon months on account of Iran,” added Price while refusing to give details about the U.S. response.
Recent developments suggest a deal may be close.
U.S. President Joe Biden discussed the ongoing nuclear negotiations with Iran during a phone call with the leaders of France, Germany, and Britain on Aug. 22. The leaders reportedly spoke about the “need to strengthen support for partners in the Middle East” as negotiations in Vienna over Tehran’s nuclear program appeared to be reaching an end-point.
U.S. National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby said on Wednesday that Iran had made a deal more likely by showing some flexibility in negotiations.
“We are closer now than we were even just a couple of weeks ago because Iran made the decision to make some concessions,” said Kirby.
However, hurdles remain despite the recent momentum, reported the Associated Press.
The Biden administration faces opposition from both Democrats and Republicans in Congress who question whether the agreement taking shape is good for U.S. national security, AP reported.
“I intend to systematically fight the implementation of this catastrophic deal, and will work with my colleagues to ensure that it is blocked and eventually reversed in January 2025,” said Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) in a statement.
Israel has also expressed opposition to the deal.
Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz was scheduled to travel to the United States on Thursday for meetings with senior American defense officials against the backdrop of the emerging deal. “We will do everything we can to influence the agreement,” said Gantz said, as reported by Israeli media on Aug. 23.
Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid, at a briefing for foreign correspondents on Wednesday, said: “On the table right now is a bad deal. It would give Iran a hundred billion dollars a year. This money will not build schools or hospitals. This is a hundred billion dollars a year that will be used to undermine stability in the Middle East and spread terror around the globe.”
“We have made it clear to everyone: If a deal is signed, it does not obligate Israel. We will act to prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear state. We are not prepared to live with a nuclear threat above our heads from an extremist, violent Islamist regime,” he added.
Biden said to put off Lapid call as Iran deal looms
The White House reportedly refused an initial request from Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid to speak with U.S. President Joe Biden, saying he was on vacation, according to Israeli media reports.
The Americans say the talk is expected to take place in the coming days, Ynet reported.
The delayed call comes against the background of renewed momentum to revive the 2015 nuclear deal as the U.S. on Wednesday responded to Iran’s latest offer.
“We have conveyed our feedback privately, and I’m not going to get into further details,” State Department spokesman Ned Price said Wednesday.
Israel has expressed opposition to a U.S. return to the nuclear deal, a priority for the Biden administration.
Lapid said at a briefing for foreign correspondents on Wednesday, “On the table right now is a bad deal. It would give Iran a hundred billion dollars a year. This money will not build schools or hospitals. This is a hundred billion dollars a year that will be used to undermine stability in the Middle East and spread terror around the globe,”
Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz was scheduled to travel to the United States on Thursday for meetings with senior American defense officials.
He will hold meetings at U.S. Central Command in Florida and meet with National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan in Washington, D.C., according to reports.
However, he will not meet with Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin.
Lapid holds intelligence briefing with Mossad Director David Barnea
Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid held an intelligence briefing on Thursday with Mossad Director David Barnea, at the Kirya in Tel Aviv, said a statement from his office.
The briefing dealt with current security issues, first and foremost the nuclear agreement with Iran.
The Mossad Director reviewed the intelligence situation and the dangers involved in a return to the nuclear agreement.