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President Trump (R) shakes hands withIsrael Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as they meet in the Oval Office earlier this month. Photo: Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty Images

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told French and German foreign ministers who visited Jerusalem today that he predicts "with high probability" that President Trump is going to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal on May 12th and urged the Europeans to agree to significant changes in the deal, Senior Israeli officials who attended the meetings told me.

Why it matters: The European powers — Germany, France and the U.K. — have been engaged in intense negotiations with the U.S. in an attempt to reach a formula that would save the Iran deal. The Europeans believe the chances of finding a formula which will satisfy Trump are very slim.

Netanyahu said changes will be needed to three parts of the deal to keep the U.S. from killing it:

  1. Sanctions on the Iranian ballistic missile program
  2. Inspections of suspicious sites in Iran
  3. A removal of the the "Sunset clause" which would start to lift limitations on the Iranian nuclear program in nine years

According to the Israeli officials Netanyahu told the European foreign ministers:

"We can debate whether it (U.S. withdrawal from the deal) is a good thing or a bad thing, but it is just the reality. Then you Europeans will have to choose between the small economy of Iran and the huge economy of the U.S."

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas told Netanyahu that the current deal is better than no deal. The Israeli officials said Netanyahu replied: "The Munich agreement from 1938 was also a deal. I also want to remind you what happened to the nuclear deal with North Korea."

French foreign minister Jean Yves Le Drian briefed Netanyahu on his recent visit to Tehran, saying he came back deeply disappointed and frustrated with the difficult position the Iranians presented regarding the European demands on the Iranian missile program and the Iranian activity in Syria, Lebanon and Yemen, the Israeli officials said.

Update: White House spokesman Raj Shah was asked about this story during the daily press briefing and said, "The president thinks it is one of the worst agreements the United States has ever made internationally. If changes aren't made, the president is prepared to potentially withdraw from the agreement"

Go deeper

Updated 7 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

  1. Health: Pfizer and Moderna boosters overwhelmingly prevent Omicron hospitalizations, CDC finds — Omicron pushes COVID deaths toward 2,000 per day — The pandemic-proof health care giant.
  2. Vaccines: The case for Operation Warp Speed 2.0 — Starbucks drops worker vaccine or test requirement after SCOTUS ruling — Kids' COVID vaccination rates are particularly low in rural America.
  3. Politics: Biden concedes U.S. should have done more testing — Arizona says it "will not be intimidated" by Biden on anti-mask school policies — Federal judge blocks Biden's vaccine mandate for federal workers.
  4. World: American Airlines flight to London forced to turn around over mask dispute — WHO: COVID health emergency could end this year — Greece imposes vaccine mandate for people 60 and older — Austria approves COVID vaccine mandate for adults.
  5. Variant tracker

Arizona governor sues Biden administration over COVID funds tied to mandates

A teacher prepares a hallway barrier to help students maintain social distancing at John B. Wright Elementary School in Tucson, Arizona, on Aug. 14, 2020. Photo: Cheney Orr/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey (R) filed a lawsuit Friday against the Biden administration for ordering the state to stop allocating federal COVID relief funds to schools that don't comply with public health recommendations such as masking, the Arizona Republic reports.

Why it matters: The Treasury Department said last week that the state would have to pay back the money if Ducey does not redesignate the $173 million programs to ensure they don't "undermine efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19."

Federal judge blocks Biden's vaccine mandate for federal workers

President Biden speaking from Eisenhower Executive Office Building on Jan. 21. Photo: Yuri Gripas/Abaca/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A federal judge in Texas blocked the Biden administration from enforcing its coronavirus vaccine mandate for federal workers on Friday, citing the outcome of last week's Supreme Court ruling that nullified the administration's vaccine-or-test requirement for large employers.

Why it matters: It's a blow to President Biden's efforts to increase the U.S.' vaccination rates, though much of the federal workforce has already been vaccinated against the virus.