The Biden administration informed Israel in advance that it planned to announce on Thursday it was ready to talk to Iran about Washington and Tehran returning to the 2015 Iran nuclear agreement, a person familiar with the matter said.
Biden's aides wanted to avoid blindsiding Israel, Iran's regional arch-foe, over the U.S. plans, which included telling the United Nations Security Council the new administration was rescinding former President Donald Trump's assertion that all UN sanctions had been reimposed on Iran in September.
But President Joe Biden did not directly inform Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu about the shift in U.S./Iran policy when they spoke for the first time on Wednesday, the source said.
Netanyahu has made clear he strongly opposes a U.S. return to the nuclear deal with Iran.
Biden and Netanyahu spoke Wednesday for the first time since the Democrat entered the White House 27 days earlier, in a conversation that included Iran.
"The conversation was very friendly and warm and lasted about an hour. The two leaders noted the long-standing personal connection between them and said they would work together to further strengthen the strong alliance between Israel and the United States," the Prime Minister's Office said in a statement.
"President Biden and Prime Minister Netanyahu discussed further advancing peace agreements, the Iranian threat and the region's challenges and agreed to continue talks between them," the PMO said.
"The president also congratulated the prime minister on his leadership in the fight against coronavirus and the two exchanged views on how to deal with the pandemic."
Itamar Eichner contributed to this report