Unsurprisingly, the Biden administration is shaping up to be full of veterans of the Obama administration. According to a report from Axios, close advisors to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu are worried “Obama people” will shape the next administration’s Iran policy.
Like most in Israel, Netanyahu is strongly opposed to Joe Biden returning to the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, known as the JCPOA. Biden has said he plans to work with Iran to revive the JCPOA and is stacking his cabinet with proponents and architects of the nuclear accord.
Sources told Axios that Ron Dermer, Israel’s outgoing ambassador to Washington, is worried about the influence John Kerry and Susan Rice will have on Biden’s foreign policy. As Barack Obama’s secretary of state, John Kerry played a crucial role in crafting the JCPOA. As national security advisor, Rice reportedly played a role in cutting Netanyahu and the Israelis out of the JCPOA negotiations.
While both Rice and Kerry have been tapped for the Biden administration, neither will fill foreign policy roles. Rice was nominated to head the Domestic Policy Council, and Kerry will be a presidential envoy for climate, a newly created role. Still, Biden appointees for top foreign policy positions have voiced their support for a return to the JCPOA.
One Netanyahu advisor told Axios that he is less concerned with Rice and Kerry than Wendy Sherman, who is expected to be nominated for the position of deputy secretary of state. In Obama’s State Department, Sherman was a lead negotiator for the JCPOA.