Israel is drafting a strategy for engaging with the incoming Biden administration on Iran, two Israeli officials tell me.
What they're saying: “We don’t want to be left out again," Israeli Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi told the Knesset foreign relations committee in a classified hearing last week. He said Israel had to avoid the mistakes that left it isolated as the Obama administration negotiated the 2015 Iran deal.
Joe Biden will face three urgent nuclear challenges upon entering the White House.
Why it matters: Arms control with Russia is crumbling, Iran’s uranium stockpiles are growing, and North Korea is as vexing and threatening as ever.
As the dust settles on the 2020 presidential election, it's becoming clear that the process proved sturdy, with no known attacks on voting infrastructure and no 2016-style vast foreign meddling campaigns to disrupt American democracy.
Yes, but: The ongoing disinformation campaign from President Trump and his allies, as they refuse to accept his loss, illustrates that the country does not need outside intrusions to undermine the integrity of our elections.
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.
Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf said on Tuesday there is no evidence so far that a “foreign actor” compromised votes in the 2020 election, Reuters reports.
Why it matters: Since Russians interfered with the 2016 election and hacked the emails of Democratic officials, the country has been antsy about a potential repeat in an already closely contested election.
Four more years of President Trump would almost certainly kill the Iran nuclear deal — but the election of Joe Biden wouldn’t necessarily save it.
The big picture: Rescuing the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) is near the top of Biden's foreign policy priority list. He says he'd re-enter the deal once Iran returns to compliance, and use it as the basis on which to negotiate a broader and longer-lasting deal with Iran.
A 13-year United Nations ban on Iran's ability to buy and sell conventional arms expired on Sunday over the objections of the U.S, which insisted that all UN sanctions on Iran had been reimposed under the "snapback" process of the 2015 nuclear agreement — even though President Trump withdrew from the deal in 2018.
Why it matters: The expiration of the arms embargo will allow Iran to buy advanced weapons systems from countries like Russia and China, upgrading military equipment that dates back to before the 1979 Islamic Revolution, according to AP.
Why it matters: "The move all but severs Iran from the global financial system, slashing the few remaining legal links it has and making it more dependent on informal or illicit trade," per Bloomberg.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani is calling for “stability” and an “end” to the current fighting between Armenia and Azerbaijan — but should the conflict between its northern neighbors escalate, Tehran may well deepen its involvement.
What to watch: Iran's recent history — specifically the Iran-Iraq War (1980-1988) — provides a model of how that escalation might happen.
U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman said in an interview with an Emirati website that a Biden victory in the November presidential election will lead to a shift in U.S. policy toward Iran that will be bad for Israel and the Gulf countries.
Why it matters: Friedman is a political appointee who is very close to President Trump after serving as his lawyer for many years. In the 2016 campaign, Friedman was leading the Trump campaign in Israel and in the U.S. Jewish community. Still, it's very unusual for a U.S. ambassador to weigh in on U.S. domestic politics during an election campaign.