Israeli President and US counterpart to discuss Iran and Israeli defense needs

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin spoke at the president's residence in Jerusalem on April 5, 2021.

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US President Joe Biden will see Israel’s outgoing president, Reuven Rivlin, at the White House on Monday for a broad conversation about US efforts to re-enter the Iran nuclear deal and Israel’s inauguration of a new government.

The meeting will take place a few weeks after far-right politician Naftali Bennett was selected as Israel’s new prime minister, replacing Benjamin Netanyahu. US officials are working on setting up a meeting between Biden and Bennett in the coming weeks.

Biden’s meeting with Rivlin comes amid apprehensions in Israel and Arab capitals about the US’ efforts to re-enter the Iran nuclear deal because of fears that a resumption of the accord may ultimately allow Tehran to attain nuclear weapons that would leave the region exposed to Iranian coercion or military threat.

The US attempts to revive the Iran nuclear deal after then-President Donald Trump withdrew from the accord in 2018, have been slow in making progress with Tehran insisting the United States lifts all economic sanctions.

A source familiar with the Biden-Rivlin meeting said Biden is expected to tell Rivlin that the United States and Israel share the same objective, which is that Iran should not be allowed to develop a nuclear weapon and that Biden would stress US support for Israel’s right to defend itself.

The two leaders are also expected to discuss Israel’s 11-day war with Gaza. The United States has pledged to resupply Israel’s Iron Dome defense system, which got heavy usage during the Gaza conflict.

Rivlin is to leave office on July 7 after a seven-year term, with Jewish Agency Chairman Isaac Herzog taking over as Israeli president.

Rivlin is on his final foreign trip as president. He will meet officials at the United Nations in New York and congressional lawmakers in Washington.

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