Washington: Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, on his first diplomatic trip to Washington, will meet with President Joe Biden at the White House on Thursday where they are expected to focus on addressing Iran’s accelerating progress with its nuclear program and other regional issues.
Last week, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) released a report warning that Iran increased the number of Natanz centrifuge cascades for enriching uranium to 60 per cent. Iran’s foreign ministry insists that all of the country’s actions are fully in line with its obligations under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and are supervised by the IAEA.
“We will deal with many fronts, especially the Iranian front, and especially the jump in the Iranian nuclear program over the past two or three years,” Bennett told reporters on Tuesday. “In particular, we will discuss the plan to block this program.”
Bennett and Biden are scheduled to have two bilateral meetings at the White House on Thursday – the first at 11:30 a.m. EST (3:30 p.m. GMT) and the second at 11:55 a.m.
Bennett’s delegation will include the head of the National Security Council, the Cabinet Secretary, the head of the Prime Minister’s staff, the Prime Minister’s Military Secretary, the diplomatic adviser and other senior Israeli officials.
A senior Biden administration official told reporters this week that the White House expects the leaders to discuss the Middle East peace process, noting that the US president continues to support a two-state solution.
In addition, they hope to discuss expanding the Abraham Accords to other nations in the Middle East, the official said.
However, Bennett recently told The New York Times he is not interested in peace talks with the Palestinians and is opposed to US efforts to revive the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), also known as the Iran nuclear deal.
Bennett also previewed that he and his team will discuss opportunities to strengthen Israel’s military superiority in the Middle East. Moreover, he will also seek to strengthen cooperation with the United States on trade, high-tech innovation, and on efforts to combat climate change and the coronavirus pandemic.
Bennet was elected as the new head of the Israeli government in June after the parliament voted in favor of swearing in the new coalition government created by former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s opponents after years of political turmoil and rounds upon rounds of snap elections. On the same day, Bennett vowed to continue settlement expansion in the West Bank and ensured Israeli control over the zone.