Bennett quietly expresses discontent with US overtures to Iran - analysis


Staff member
Bennett quietly expresses discontent with US overtures to Iran - analysis
PM Naftali Bennett protested Rob Malley's approach to Iran by refusing to meet on Monday.
Published: NOVEMBER 15, 2021

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett isn’t trying to snub US Envoy for Iran Rob Malley, who was in Israel on Monday. He just doesn’t want to send a positive message about what Malley is doing by meeting him. If that sounds contradictory to you, well, you’re not the only one. Sources close to Bennett insisted on pointing to protocol in response to reports of a snub. After all, they said, the US special representative for Iran is not at the same diplomatic level as Israel’s leader – Bennett also did not meet with Deputy Secretary of the Treasury Wally Adeyemo, who was in Israel this week.

However, Foreign Minister Yair Lapid and Defense Minister Benny Gantz flouted protocol and met with Malley. Plus, former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu did not pull rank when he made sure to meet with Malley’s predecessors, Elliott Abrams and Brian Hook. That the previous Iran envoys were Hook and Abrams, staunch opponents of the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, and the current one is Malley, the nuclear deal’s biggest booster in the Biden administration, makes all the difference. Malley’s advocacy for engagement is especially relevant at this point because indirect talks between the US and Iran are supposed to restart in two weeks.