Israel PM Naftali Bennett arrives in Washington, will meet with Biden on Iran

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Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett arrived in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday night for his first diplomatic visit overseas since taking office. 

The prime minister and President Biden will discuss Iran during the two-day visit to the White House.

“One thing is clear: the US & #Israel have no better friends than each other,” the Israel Embassy wrote on Twitter along with a video of the prime minister stepping off his plane. 

Bennett succeeded former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in June after Bennett put together a coalition government and ousted Netanyahu over corruption charges. 

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett speaks in Jerusalem, Aug. 18, 2021. (Associated Press)

Bennett was scheduled to meet Wednesday with senior White House officials, including Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, and with Biden on Thursday. 

The prime minister said in a statement that his conversation with Biden would likely focus on the Iran nuclear deal, the coronavirus pandemic and the international economy. 

Bennett has spoken out against the possibility of a new nuclear accord between Iran and world powers and says that any agreement must also put the brakes on Iran’s regional aggression, referring to the country’s “leapfrogging” in the last two to three years. Recent months have seen a string of attacks on Israeli-connected shipping, believed to have been carried out by Iran.

“Now is the time to halt the Iranians, to stop this thing,” he promised his Cabinet earlier this week he would tell Biden. He called the nuclear deal “expired and is not relevant, even to those who thought it was once relevant.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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