With the Biden administration engaged in talks that could revive the Iran nuclear deal, US allies in the Middle East that are against the agreement are concerned. Besides Israel, Arab allies like the UAE and Saudi Arabia are also opposed to a revival of the JCPOA.
To tamp down these concerns the Biden administration has dispatched officials to the region. Senator Chris Coons (D-DE), who is seen as a key Biden ally, spoke with reporters in Abu Dhabi on Monday. He said he was there to alleviate the UAE’s “understandable and legitimate concerns” and create a “broader engagement” with Gulf countries. Coons said the US was in “close consultations” with the UAE on the Iran talks that are ongoing in Vienna.
Several senior Biden administration officials are touring the region this week, including Brett McGurk, who heads Middle East policy on the National Security Council. McGurk and his delegation are expected to visit Abu Dhabi, Riyadh, Amman, and Cairo.
Israel, Washington’s closest ally in the region, dispatched a delegation of its own to Washington last week. On Friday, President Biden reportedly told Israel’s Mossad spy agency chief Yossi Cohen that the US has a “long way to go” before it reaches an agreement to revive the JCPOA.
The US has stood by while Israel has taken covert action against Iran to sabotage the Vienna talks. Most notable was the attack on Iran’s Natanz nuclear facility. While the US has distanced itself from the attack, Biden officials have refused to condemn it. Besides the covert action, Israeli officials are threatening to attack Iran if the JCPOA is revived.
Biden claims he wants to return to the JCPOA, but his administration is refusing to lift all Trump-era sanctions on Iran. Because of this, the talks are being dragged out as the two sides are negotiating what sanctions the US is willing to lift and what would be acceptable to Tehran.