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Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Photo: Patrick Semansky/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

The Trump administration, in coordination with Israel and several Gulf states, is pushing a plan to slap a long string of new sanctions on Iran in the 10 weeks left until Joe Biden’s inauguration on Jan. 20, two Israeli sources briefed on the effort told me.

Driving the news: The Trump administration’s envoy for Iran Elliott Abrams arrived in Israel on Sunday and met Prime Minister Netanyahu and National Security adviser Meir Ben-Shabbat to discuss the sanctions plan.

  • Abrams will meet on Monday with Minister of Defense Benny Gantz and Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi to brief them on the plan.
  • Abrams didn’t respond to a request for comment.

Why it matters: The Trump administration believes such a “flood” of sanctions will increase pressure on the Iranians and make it harder for the Biden administration to revive the 2015 nuclear deal, the Israeli sources told me.

Behind the scenes: In the last several weeks, the Trump administration — with the encouragement and assistance of part of the Israeli diplomatic and security establishment — has prepared a “target bank” of Iranian entities that will be sanctioned.

  • Abrams said in a closed briefing several days ago that the Trump administration wants to announce a new set of sanctions on Iran every week until Jan. 20, a source who was privy to the briefing told me.
  • The Israeli sources told me the planned sanctions are not connected to the Iranian nuclear program — such sanctions are more likely to be canceled by a Biden administration and open the door to reviving the 2015 nuclear deal.
  • Instead, the goal is to impose sanctions on Iran that are connected to its ballistic missile program, Iranian assistance to terror organizations and Iranian human rights violations.

What they're saying: “The goal is to slap as many sanctions as possible on Iran until Jan. 20," an Israeli source briefed on the plan told me.

What’s next: Abrams will travel from Israel to Abu Dhabi and Riyadh to discuss the sanctions plan.

  • The United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia are the two main allies the Trump administration and the Israeli government have against Iran, and both are very concerned by the Biden administration's future Iran policy.
  • Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is arriving in Israel on Nov. 18, Israeli and U.S. officials tell me. Pompeo will likely visit other countries in the region as well. His trip is also going to focus on the Trump administration’s last-ditch effort to increase pressure on Iran.

Go deeper: How Biden might tackle the Iran deal

Go deeper

23 hours ago - World

Netanyahu and Israel reluctantly adjust to a post-Trump Washington

Netanyahu (R) and Biden in 2010. Photo: Avi Ohayon/GPO via Getty

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his close aides are very nervous about the transition to a new U.S. administration after a four-year honeymoon with Donald Trump. One Israeli official told me it felt like going through detox.

What he's saying: Netanyahu congratulated Biden minutes after he was sworn in, saying in a statement that he looked forward to working together to "continue expanding peace between Israel and the Arab world and to confront common challenges, chief among them the threat posed by Iran."

Dave Lawler, author of World
13 hours ago - World

What has and hasn't changed as Biden takes over U.S. foreign policy

Photo Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

President Biden swiftly recommitted the U.S. to the Paris climate pact and the World Health Organization, but America's broader foreign policy is in a state of flux between the Trump and Biden eras.

Driving the news: One of the most striking moves from the Biden administration thus far was a show of continuity — concurring with the Trump administration's last-minute determination that China had committed "genocide" against Uyghur Muslims.

Jan 21, 2021 - World

World leaders react to "new dawn in America" under Biden administration

President Biden reacts delivers his inaugural address on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

World leaders have pledged to work with President Biden on issues including the COVID-19 pandemic and climate change, with many praising his move to begin the formal process for the U.S. to rejoin the Paris Climate Agreement.

The big picture: Several leaders noted the swift shift from former President Trump's "America First" policy to Biden's action to re-engage with the world and rebuild alliances.

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