What can we expect from the visit of the US envoy to Iran, Malley?

WASHINGTON – US special envoy for Iran Robert Malley will lead an interagency team in the United Arab Emirates, Israel, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain from November 11 to 20, the State Department announced Thursday. It would be Malley’s first visit to Israel since joining the Biden administration as a special envoy to Iran.

Malley’s visit comes as the US is gearing up for November 29, when the US and Iran will resume indirect negotiations on a mutual return to the 2015 nuclear deal.

According to the State Department, Malley and his team will arrive in the region “to consult with partners and attend a series of regional engagements,” and to “coordinate our approaches on a wide range of concerns with Iran, including its destabilizing activities in Iran. the region and the upcoming seventh round of talks on a mutual return to full compliance with the JCPOA. “

“Israel must make it unequivocally clear to Rob Malley that it cannot tolerate Iran reaching the threshold of capability, that is, the ability to make nuclear weapons in a matter of weeks or even days,” says Michael Oren, Israel’s former ambassador to the United States. United. “Israel must also make it unequivocally clear that any deal with Iran must effectively block its path to a threshold capacity by physically dismantling its nuclear infrastructure and greatly extending sunset clauses,” he added. “Israel should demand concrete measures to stop Iran’s ICBM system and its development of a nuclear warhead. The United States may be able to coexist with a threshold Iran, but Israel cannot. “

“It is good practice to consult with our regional allies before negotiations with Iran are resumed,” says Ambassador Martin Indyk, a distinguished member of the Council on Foreign Relations and a former US ambassador to Israel. “They have even more at stake than we do,” he added. According to Indyk, “the purpose is to coordinate them and assure them that there will be no surprises.”

The Iranian flag flies in front of the UN office building, which houses the IAEA headquarters, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, in Vienna, Austria, on May 24, 2021 (credit: LISI NIESNER / REUTERS).

“Malley knows well now that Israel is opposed to going back to the deal,” he added. “You can try to reassure them by talking about how their concerns can be resolved by other means.”

Ambassador Dennis Ross, Distinguished Fellow of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, said that the fact that Malley will travel to these countries prior to the resumption of the Vienna talks shows that he wants to “share our views and how we will approach these discussions and also to show that you want to hear from those in the region their assessments and views on possible Iranian tactics. “

The countries Malley is preparing to visit can give their latest views on current Iranian actions in the region, “especially in Iraq, Syria and Yemen and how this may relate to Vienna,” Ross added.

When asked what Israel should insist on when it meets with Malley and his team, Ross said Israel could insist on how the United States will deal with an Iran that is playing for time even as its 20- and 60-percent enrichment proceeds, and whether the United States will push the IAEA Board of Governors to refer Iran to the UN Security Council by the end of the month based on its current nuclear actions and the IAEA’s denial of access to data. “

“Since Iran is likely to threaten [to boycott] participation in Vienna if there is a resolution of the Board of Governors criticizing their behavior, this becomes an early test of how [the US] it will get closer to Iran’s likely tactics, ”he said.

Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-Maryland), a member of the Senate Subcommittee on the Near East, South Asia, Central Asia and Counterterrorism, told The Jerusalem Post on Wednesday that “the goal of the negotiations is to prevent Iran from [pursuing] its ongoing nuclear enrichment program. “

“They have exceeded the limits that were in the JCPOA,” Van Hollen said. “The JCPOA established those limitations; the previous administration withdrew, so the Iranians no longer complied with the provisions of that agreement. “He added that it is” important to come back to the table, reapply those limitations, and then work on other issues related to the evil Iranian influence in the region”.

Malley’s visit will coincide with a different high-level visit: US Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield will travel to Jerusalem, Ramallah and Amman from November 14-19.

“Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield will be the first US cabinet official to visit Israel since the formation of his new government in June,” the US embassy in Jerusalem said in a statement. “Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield will meet with senior Israeli officials to reinforce the United States’ unwavering commitment to Israel’s security and to discuss continued US-Israeli cooperation at the UN and a wide range of regional issues. He will also visit Yad Vashem, the World Center for Holocaust Remembrance, where he will tour the museum and lay a wreath to commemorate the victims of the Holocaust. “

Lahav Harkov contributed to this report.


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