Head of Israel’s Mossad visits US for meetings over Iran

The talks will focus on Iran nuclear deal and dispute with Lebanon over shared maritime borders

Mossad director David Barnea’s visit to the US will focus on tightening security and intelligence coordination with the Americans regarding the Iranian nuclear issue. Photo by Amos Ben Gershom/GPO/Handout/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
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The head of Israel's spy agency is departing for the US on Monday for talks on the potential revival of the Iran nuclear deal.

Mossad director David Barnea’s visit will focus on tightening security and intelligence co-ordination with the US regarding the Iranian nuclear issue, according to a press release posted on the website of the office of the Israeli prime minister.

Mr Barnea is expected to also discuss the dispute between Lebanon and his country over shared maritime borders.

There were no more details about other issues on the agenda.

Amos Hochstein, the US diplomat mediating talks between Lebanon and Israel over the gas-rich disputed area, will be in Beirut at the end of the week, a statement from Lebanon’s presidential palace said on Sunday.

The announced visit by the Mossad chief to the US is seen by observers as the latest Israeli push to sway western powers away from a return to the 2015 deal with Tehran.

Israel says a deal would enable the funding of Iran-supported militants, while not preventing Tehran from developing a nuclear weapon — a goal Iran has always denied.

Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid said last month that his country's “diplomatic fight” against the deal included recent meetings in the US held by its national security adviser and defence minister.

He repeated that what was signed in 2015 was “not a good deal” and that the one currently being formulated entailed “greater dangers”.

According to Mr Lapid, a new agreement would have to include an expiration date and tighter supervision that would also “address Iran's ballistic missile programme and its involvement in terrorism throughout the Middle East”.

In 2018, Donald Trump, US president at the time, unilaterally withdrew from the agreement designed to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon.

His successor Joe Biden has sought to return to the deal. But over a year and a half of talks, negotiations have hit several obstacles, including Tehran's insistence that the International Atomic Energy Agency close its probes into uranium traces found at three undeclared sites before the nuclear pact is revived.

Last week, Iran sent its latest response to an EU-drafted text aimed at overcoming the impasse to revive the nuclear pact.

Iran's demand risks hurting the chances of saving the deal because Washington has refused to link it to the agency's investigation.

Updated: September 05, 2022, 9:57 AM