Biden, Israeli President Rivlin to discuss Iran, Israel defense needs

·2-min read
FILE PHOTO: Israeli President Reuven Rivlin speaks at the president's residence in Jerusalem

By Steve Holland

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Joe Biden will meet Israel's outgoing president, Reuven Rivlin, at the White House on Monday for a broad discussion about U.S. efforts to re-enter the Iran nuclear deal and Israel's formation of a new government.

The meeting takes place just weeks after Naftali Bennett took over as Israel's new prime minister, replacing Benjamin Netanyahu. U.S. officials are working on setting up a meeting between Biden and Bennett in coming weeks.

Biden's meeting with Rivlin comes amid concerns in Israel and Arab capitals about U.S. efforts to re-enter the Iran nuclear deal because of fears a resumption of the accord may eventually allow Tehran to acquire atomic weapons that would leave them vulnerable to Iranian intimidation or military threat.

U.S. attempts to revive the Iran nuclear deal, after then-President Donald Trump abandoned it in 2018, have been slow to make progress with Tehran insisting the United States lift all economic sanctions.

A source familiar with the Biden-Rivlin meeting said Biden is expected to tell Rivlin that the United States and Israel share the same objective, that Iran not be allowed to develop a nuclear weapon, and that Biden would stress U.S. support for Israel's right to defend itself.

The two leaders are also expected to discuss Israel's 11-day war with Gaza. The United States has pledged to resupply Israel's Iron Dome defense system, which got heavy usage during the Gaza conflict.

Rivlin is to leave office on July 7 after a seven-year term, with Jewish Agency Chairman Isaac Herzog taking over as Israeli president.

Rivlin is on his final foreign trip as president. He will meet officials at the United Nations in New York and congressional lawmakers in Washington.

(Reporting by Steve Holland; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)

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