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Dermer. Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty

Israeli ambassador to Washington Ron Dermer said today the incoming Biden administration would be making a mistake if it returned to the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran.

Why it matters: President-elect Biden plans to re-enter the deal if Iran returns to compliance, but he will clearly face opposition from Israel. Dermer is Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's closest adviser and his comment reflects Netanyahu’s thinking.

Dermer spoke in a panel together with the ambassadors of the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain. The Bahraini ambassador, who spoke after Dermer, seemed to agree with him.

Why he's saying: Dermer said the Biden administration needs to look at the reality in the Middle East and see how it can continue the process of getting Israel and the Arab world closer together instead of returning to the Iran deal.

  • “Sit with your allies in the region. Talk to us in order to get to a common position on Iran. Not only on the nuclear issue but also about the Iranian aggression in the region. It will put the U.S. in a much better position to deal with Iran," Dermer said.

Where things stand: Biden's team believes President Trump's withdrawal from the Iran deal was a catastrophic mistake, but recognizes that it won't be easy to put the deal back together in a way that can last.

What’s next: At a press conference today, Netanyahu said he would speak with Biden soon. Asked about Trump’s claims that he won the election, Netanyahu said, “we have enough politics of our own here."

Go deeper

Iran plans to increase uranium enrichment if U.S. sanctions remain

Protesters burn portraits of President Trump and President-elect Joe Biden in a rally against the assassination of Iran's top nuclear scientist in Tehran, Iran. Photo: Morteza Nikoubazl/NurPhoto via Getty

Iran plans to begin increasing its nuclear enrichment levels and prohibit international inspectors from accessing nuclear facilities if U.S. oil and banking sanctions are not lifted by this coming February, the New York Times reports.

Why it matters: A new law ratified Wednesday orders Iran's atomic energy agency to expand uranium enrichment to match levels prior to the 2015 nuclear agreement. The move comes as a direct response to the assassination of the nation's top nuclear scientist, and appears to put pressure on President-elect Biden to reenter the 2015 deal immediately upon taking office.

Dec 2, 2020 - World

Israeli parliament opts for early elections in preliminary vote

Netanyahu (C) arrives in parliament today. Photo: Alex Kolomiensky/Pool/AFP via Getty

After six months of a dysfunctional power-sharing government, Israel is headed for its fourth elections in less than two years, most likely at the end of March.

Driving the news: The Knesset voted 61-54 today to approve the preliminary reading of a bill to dissolve the parliament and call new elections. Benny Gantz's Blue and White party supported the bill while Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud and the rest of the coalition voted against.

Dec 2, 2020 - World

Biden says he won't immediately remove U.S. tariffs on China

President-elect Joe Biden during an event in Wilmington, Delaware, on Tuesday. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

President Trump's 25% tariffs imposed on China under the phase one trade deal will remain in place at the start of the new administration, President-elect Biden said in an interview with the New York Times published early Wednesday.

Details: "I'm not going to make any immediate moves, and the same applies to the tariffs," Biden said. He plans to conduct a full review of the current U.S. policy on China and speak with key allies in Asia and Europe to "develop a coherent strategy," he said.