Israel not reassured by Biden’s assembly with Mossad chief

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US President Joe Biden and Mossad Chief Yossi Cohen met on April 30 on the White House. A spokesperson for the American National Security Council mentioned Cohen’s authentic assembly was with the company’s chief Jake Sullivan, and that Biden “dropped by to express condolences for the tragedy in Mount Meron.’’

But diplomatic sources told Al-Monitor the meeting was anything but a “drop by” — the sort of assembly senior Israeli officers have grown accustomed to over time. It was apparently a full assembly arrange by the White House on the president’s request. Cohen, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s remaining weapon in his determined bid to derail the looming US return to the Iran nuclear deal, had a prolonged one-hour sit-down with Biden final Friday.

That Biden took the difficulty to satisfy with Cohen after not doing so final month when Israeli nationwide safety adviser Meir Ben-Shabbat held top-level conferences in Washington attests to Cohen’s standing within the American capital. The personable Mossad chief enjoys distinctive status as head of the vaunted spy company for the previous 5 years. In Israel, he cuts a considerably controversial determine in gentle of his fondness for the limelight and rumored ambitions to succeed Netanyahu down the road. However, within the intelligence neighborhood, Cohen has acquired admirers in most Western capitals.

Cohen’s English is flawless and he initiatives private attraction and charisma. He arrived in Washington on April 26 and carried out conferences with CIA director William Burns, nationwide safety advisor Jake Sullivan, Secretary of State Anthony Blinken and Undersecretary Wendy Sherman, director of nationwide intelligence Avril Haines and others.

Word of the standard intelligence Cohen had introduced with him seemingly reached the Oval Office and Burns informed him on April 28 that the president could be very joyful to see him. The assembly befell two days later on the White House.

Diplomatic sources in Jerusalem knowledgeable concerning the content material of the assembly mentioned Biden greeted Cohen with an outpouring of Zionist sentiment. The two go approach again to the time Biden served as vice chairman and Cohen as Israel’s nationwide safety adviser. The president harassed that he loves Israel, loves the Jewish folks, assure Israel’s safety and well-being and would by no means return on this dedication. Biden informed Cohen of his eager curiosity within the Holocaust, declared his dedication to the current Israeli peace agreements with Arab and Muslim states and pledged his assist for continued momentum on this regard.

Talk then moved to the Iranian elephant within the room. According to each the Jerusalem diplomatic sources and US officers, Cohen offered Biden with Israel’s notion of the Iran menace and offered him with an government summary of the intelligence he had offered at his different Washington conferences. According to Cohen, a return to the unique deal could be a grave mistake, given the issues within the 2015 settlement. Washington ought to attempt for a unique settlement, to be often called the second Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA2), plugging up the holes within the first deal between Iran, the United States, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Russia, China and the European Union.

Among the important thing flaws Cohen enumerated was the settlement’s disregard for Iran’s medium- and long-range ballistic missile program, Iran’s sponsorship of terrorism by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and Ministry of Intelligence and its destabilization of regional safety. The world powers, Cohen reportedly informed Biden, ought to put Iran as a substitute as a state supporting and spreading terrorism slightly than rewarding it.

The dialog then moved to dialogue of Iran’s potential navy dimensions. Biden laid out the US view that the powers should return to the unique deal in accordance with a “compliance in return for compliance” mannequin, after which the signatories would search to enhance and increase the deal.

Cohen offered a unique approach. The authentic deal is predicated on false assumptions that Israel has uncovered, particularly within the nuclear archives, he mentioned, referring to the categorised information Israel spirited out of Iran in 2018.

Cohen advised that the president delve into the developments for the reason that signing of the settlement almost six years in the past, together with suspicious websites (such because the warehouse within the Tehran district of Turquzabad, for instance) that have but to be explored. Cohen additionally flagged the scientists working below the Defense Ministry to develop navy nuclear capabilities and different issues that Iran has failed to clarify satisfactorily.

Cohen argued {that a} return to the settlement and a lifting of financial sanctions would deprive the United States of leverage to amend and enhance the settlement. While the disagreements weren’t resolved, the assembly was described as very pleasant and the president listened attentively to his visitor. He additionally complimented the Mossad on its achievements.

“Ultimately,” a senior Israeli diplomatic supply in Jerusalem informed Al-Monitor on situation of anonymity, “Biden chose Cohen in order to relay a clear message that the US was not abandoning Israel, that it would never agree to Iran acquiring military nuclear capability and that the return to the agreement is not the end of the world but just the beginning of a process.”

Netanyahu, who obtained an intensive briefing by Cohen on the assembly and questioned him at size, is undoubtedly lower than proud of the American approach. One of his associates informed Al-Monitor this week on situation of anonymity, “The Americans are definitely moving full speed ahead with the agreement. We may be hearing of some breakthrough within days.”

The query is whether or not Biden’s remarks had been meant just for Netanyahu or if he had been contemplating Netanyahu’s diminishing prospects of remaining in workplace all through his presidency. One factor is evident: With or with out Netanyahu, Iran will stay the important thing difficulty of future talks between Jerusalem and Washington.

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