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David Friedman. Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman said in an interview with an Emirati website that a Biden victory in the November presidential election will lead to a shift in U.S. policy toward Iran that will be bad for Israel and the Gulf countries.

Why it matters: Friedman is a political appointee who is very close to President Trump after serving as his lawyer for many years. In the 2016 campaign, Friedman was leading the Trump campaign in Israel and in the U.S. Jewish community. Still, it's very unusual for a U.S. ambassador to weigh in on U.S. domestic politics during an election campaign. 

What he's saying:

  • Friedman argued in a short video published on Twitter by al-Ain that U.S. policy toward Iran “is the most consequential issue of the election.” He said Biden was part of the Obama administration that negotiated and implemented the Iran nuclear deal, which “President Trump thinks was the worst deal the U.S. has ever entered into. It created a path for Iran to get a nuclear weapon."
  • Friedman added: “We are in a very good place with the sanctions on Iran, and we think if we continue down this path, Iran will have no choice but to end its malign activity. We worked really hard to get Iran to a much better place. I would hate to think a new administration would undermine that but, regrettably, if Biden wins, I guess they might."
  • In another quote that appeared on the al-Ain website, Friedman said: “If Biden wins, we will see a policy shift that in my personal opinion will be wrong and will be bad for the region, including for Israel, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Qatar and Kuwait."

On Friday, another interview with Friedman was published in the hardline right-wing Makor Rishon newspaper, which is affiliated with the settler movement. Friedman attacked Biden for his record on Israel while he was vice president, including Biden's 2010 condemnation of plans to build new settlements in East Jerusalem.

Go deeper

Jan 12, 2021 - World

Trump administration launches foreign policy blitz in final days

Pompeo leaves the stage. Photo: Jacquelyn Martin/AFP via Getty

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo declared Yemen's Houthi rebels a terror group, labeled Cuba a state sponsor of terrorism and risked provoking China by lifting restrictions on interactions between U.S. and Taiwanese officials — all within 48 hours, and with less than two weeks left in President Trump's term.

Why it matters: The administration, and in particular Pompeo, has made little secret of the fact that it's trying to tie President-elect Biden's hands, in particular when it comes to Trump's hardline policies on Iran and China.

45 million Americans under winter storm watches near New England

Computer model projection showing the winds moving around the powerful East Coast storm on Saturday Jan. 29, 2022. Image: https://earth.nullschool.net

Nearly 45 million Americans are under winter weather alerts and warnings from North Carolina to northeastern Maine Thursday night, as a major winter storm threatens the region.

Why it matters: It is predicted to be the biggest blizzard since 2018 to strike the Northeast with more than 2 feet of snow possible in parts of eastern Massachusetts, according to the National Weather Service.

Judge nixes Gulf of Mexico oil leases in climate-focused ruling

Tug boats prepare to tow the semi-submersible drilling platform Noble Danny Adkins through the Port Aransas Channel into the Gulf of Mexico on December 12, 2020 in Port Aransas, Texas. Photo: Tom Pennington/Getty Images

A federal judge on Thursday canceled the Biden administration's late 2021 sale of new oil-and-gas drilling leases in the Gulf of Mexico.

Why it matters: The ruling that the greenhouse gas emissions analysis by the Interior's Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) was insufficient is a win for green groups that challenged the decision, as they seek to curb fossil fuel production.

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