Mossad chief heads to Washington for meetings over Iran nuclear deal

David Barnea is set to meet with intelligence and security officials in attempt to prevent impending agreement from being signed, or at the very least harden U.S. stance toward Iranians

Itamar Eichner|
Mossad Director David Barnea took off overnight Monday for the United States, where he will hold a series of meetings with senior intelligence officials in an effort to dissuade Washington from reviving the nuclear deal with Iran.
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  • Barnea's trip is part of Israel's effort to sabotage agreement, or at the very least harden the U.S. stance toward Tehran during negotiations over the deal's terms. The intelligence chief is also expected to meet with officials from Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), White House, and National Security Council (NSC).
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    טקס יום הזיכרון לשואה ביד ושם
    טקס יום הזיכרון לשואה ביד ושם
    Mossad Director David (Dedi) Barnea
    (Photo: Yoav Dudkevitch)
    Meanwhile, Prime Minister Yair Lapid on Monday met with an American delegation from both political parties, led by senior senators Lindsey Graham and Bob Menendez.
    At the meeting held in Jerusalem, Lapid presented the Congress members and senators with the latest regional developments and stressed Israel's stance on the nuclear deal. "Israel acts, and will continue to act to prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear state," Lapid said.
    Opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu also met the members of the delegation and claimed Lapid attempted to torpedo Barnea's expected speech in front of the United States Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.
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    ישיבת ממשלה
    ישיבת ממשלה
    Prime Minister Yair Lapid
    (Photo: EPA)
    The prime minister's office strongly denied this accusation and argued that the date for the speech has not even been set, and it is expected to be held in the coming weeks.
    United States Ambassador to Israel Tom Nides also appeared before the American delegation and made it clear that "the U.S. understands the aggression of Iran. We will never tie Israel's hands in the need to defend itself.
    "President Joe Biden spoke with Lapid and repeated the message we stand by Israel to make sure Iran never obtains a nuclear weapon," Nides said. "It is also in our national and security interest as we repeated over and over again."
    United States Ambassador to Israel Tom Nides
    (Video: U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem)
    The ambassador added the U.S. would like a diplomatic solution to this matter, but only under conditions the president laid out before his European colleagues.
    "There are many gaps that must be bridged before we actually agree to the deal. Joe Biden has shown he sticks to principles, and his principles are that he supports the State of Israel and its security," Nides added.
    "We know the positions of many of the senior Israeli officials who oppose the signing of the agreement. Among the best things about the current government is that we are in contact with the Israelis every day on this issue, including with the head of Mossad, and he is welcome to come to the United States and meet with his colleagues. Barnea is doing a great job and we would love to have him anytime he wants."
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