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From left to right, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and President Biden hold an E3 meeting at the G20 Summit on Oct. 30 in Rome. Photo: Jeff J Mitchell - Pool/Getty Images

President Biden and the leaders of Germany, France and the United Kingdom met on Saturday and called on Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi to return to nuclear negotiations soon in order to avoid “a dangerous escalation.”

Why it matters: The joint statement, released after the four met on the sidelines of the G20 summit, was intended to demonstrate that the United States and its European allies are united in their approach going into renewed talks with Iran.

Driving the news: The Biden administration on Friday imposed new sanctions on two entities and four individuals that are connected to Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps' drone attacks, including against U.S. forces, in the region.

  • In what could be a signal to Iran, the Israeli military released photos and videos on Saturday of Israeli F-15 jets accompanying a U.S. Air Force B-1 strategic bomber during its flight over Israeli airspace.

What they are saying: “We call upon President Raisi to seize this opportunity and return to a good faith effort to conclude our negotiations as a matter of urgency.  That is the only sure way to avoid a dangerous escalation, which is not in any country’s interest,” according to the joint statement.

  • The four leaders expressed determination to “ensure that Iran can never develop or acquire a nuclear weapon” and shared their “grave and growing concern” about the frozen negotiations on the return to the 2015 nuclear deal and Iran’s latest nuclear advances.
  • They expressed alarm at Iran’s production of highly enriched uranium and enriched uranium metal. “Iran has no credible civilian need for either measure, but both are important to nuclear weapons programs,” they stressed.

What’s next: At the top of the two-hour-long meeting, Biden was asked when the talks will start. “They’re scheduled to resume,” is all he would say.

  • Iran's new chief nuclear negotiator said following a meeting in Brussels on Wednesday that Iran would resume negotiations in Vienna before the end of November, with the exact date to be set next week.
  • The leaders stressed in their statement they are still committed to a diplomatic solution and said the international sanction on Iran will only be lifted if Tehran changes course.

Go deeper: Iran agrees to resume Vienna nuclear talks in November

Go deeper

Nov 24, 2021 - World

U.S. assurances on Iran met with skepticism in the region

Lloyd Austin addresses the Manama Dialogue. Photo: Mazen Mahdi/AFP via Getty

MANAMA, Bahrain — Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin was among top U.S. officials who spoke at the Manama Dialogue last weekend about the U.S. commitment to stand up to Iran, but their words were met with skepticism.

Why it matters: In the public sessions and in private conversations, many of the Arab and Israeli participants discussed the perception that the U.S. is leaving the region and not projecting sufficient power to deter Iran.

Nov 24, 2021 - World

Israeli diplomat: New regional alliances "keep the Iranians up at night"

Photo: Mazen Mahdi AFP via Getty

MANAMA, Bahrain — The diplomat who transitioned Israel's secret relationship with Bahrain into a public one tells Axios that Israel's burgeoning partnerships in the region "keep the Iranians up at night."

What he's saying: "The Iranians opened a front against us in Syria and Lebanon, but now when they look across the Gulf, they see us there with our allies very close to them," says Itay Tagner, the outgoing head of mission at the new Israeli Embassy in Bahrain, who previously led the secret Israeli diplomatic mission in Manama.

Updated 11 mins ago - Health

The next big bottleneck in the global vaccination effort

Illustration: Rae Cook/Axios

The world still needs more coronavirus vaccines, but an additional bottleneck has emerged in many low-income countries: They need help getting shots in arms.

Why it matters: Increasing vaccination rates across the world is both a humanitarian necessity and the best way to prevent dangerous new variants from emerging, but it increasingly requires complex problem-solving.