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Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan will meet Wednesday with Israeli officials including Naftali Bennett, with Iran "very high on the agenda," a senior Biden administration official told reporters on Monday evening.

Why it matters: The senior official said "time is running out" for the Iran nuclear talks in Vienna, and "we will talk with the Israelis on what is going to happen in the coming weeks." Sullivan is also expected to travel to Ramallah and meet Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

The Israeli government is very concerned about the possibility of the Biden administration seeking an interim agreement with Iran.

  • Israeli officials contend a deal that, for example, sees Iran freeze their 60% uranium enrichment in return for some sanctions relief, would effectively give the Iranians billions of dollars without rolling back their nuclear program.

Driving the news: Biden will arrive in Israel on Tuesday afternoon local time and meet later that day with President Isaac Herzog. The following day he'll meet Bennett, Foreign Minister Yair Lapid and Defense Minister Benny Gantz.

  • Sullivan and his delegation will also take part in the fourth session of a U.S.-Israel working group on Iran.

Go deeper

Jan 12, 2022 - World

Israel PM gambles on no lockdown strategy as cases climb

Naftali Bennett. Photo: Amir Levy/Getty

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett is facing growing criticism as Israel continues to set new records for daily COVID cases, but he's decided to try to ride out the fifth wave without new lockdowns.

Why it matters: Bennett has taken a big bet that the Israeli health system will be able to withstand the Omicron wave.

Jan 14, 2022 - World

U.S. braces for Russian escalation as talks hit “dead end”

OSCE Chairman-in-Office Zbigniew Rau said Thursday "the risk of war in the OSCE area is now greater than ever." Photo: Askin Kiyagan/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

The crisis over Russia's threatening military buildup on the border with Ukraine entered a dangerous and unpredictable new phase in both Vienna and Washington on Thursday.

Driving the news: Russian diplomats said this week's round of security talks from Geneva and Brussels to Vienna have resulted in a "dead end," and it's time for them to return to Moscow to brief President Vladimir Putin on the "very disappointing" state of affairs before deciding the path forward.

Jan 12, 2022 - World

China hosts string of Gulf officials in sign of growing influence

Wang Yi (right) greets Faisal bin Farhan on Jan. 10. Photo: Ji Chunpeng/Xinhua via Getty

The foreign ministers of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Oman and Bahrain and the secretary-general of the Gulf Cooperation Council are all visiting China this week for talks on boosting trade and security cooperation.

Why it matters: The flurry of visits by Gulf officials is part of China’s push for deeper involvement in the Middle East. For Beijing, the Gulf in particular is key to its energy supply and increasingly to its geopolitical influence.

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