Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu has finally appointed Meir Ben Shabbat as his national security adviser to lead talks with the Biden administration on Iran, ending a controversial stalemate with Mossad director Yossi Cohen who was also gunning for the position. Ben Shabbat and his US counterpart Jake Sullivan, on a secure video call on Thursday, discussed the topic of Iran amid sensitive nuclear deal subject, Axios reported.
The call between US and Israel national security advisors was confirmed by National Security Council spokeswoman Emily Horne but refused to indulge in the details. This was a second call between Sullivan and Ben Shabbat and is said to have lasted longer than the first one.
Iran nuclear deal
Ben Shabbat is tasked with leading Israel's talks on Iran with world powers and regional partners. But the topic of Iran is going to be a sensitive one to discuss with the Biden administration as the current President of the United States is considering returning to the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran and lifting sanctions. Netanyahu had hailed former US President Donald Trump's decision to quit the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) with Iran in 2018 and even warned Biden against joining JCPOA.
US President Joe Biden has expressed his intentions to address Iran's ballistic missile program and its support for terror groups. Biden administration has refused to lift sanctions unless Iran stops its increased uranium enrichment. A strategy on the Iran nuclear deal is being drafted by the US, but it is clear on one thing that Iran must resume full compliance with the nuclear deal.
Ben Shabbat up for task?
Ben Shabbat is expected to hold several meetings to draft Israel's strategy on the Iran nuclear deal issue. A high-level meeting on Iran is also on the schedule, which will be attended by Netanyahu, Minister of Defense Benny Gantz, Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi and other senior national security, intelligence and foreign policy officials, reports add.