Iran and Middle East focus of high-level White House meeting: US sources

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A high-level meeting between senior US officials was held Friday to discuss the Iran nuclear deal as well as the overall situation in the Middle East and Washington’s priorities going forward, according to senior administration officials.

Although US President Joe Biden did not attend, secretaries of State, Defense and Treasury were expected to be present.


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National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan and other top officials also would join, senior US official sources told Al Arabiya.

But the Iran deal was not the only topic to be discussed. The ongoing war in Yemen and the need for an immediate end to it was expected to be addressed, as well as the continuous rocket attacks on Saudi Arabia by Iran’s proxies in Yemen.

Officials also looked at new ways to approach solutions to the conflict.

Biden’s special envoy for Yemen, Timothy Lenderking, Iran envoy Robert Malley and White House Coordinator for the Middle East and North Africa Brett McGurk, were supposed to be at the White House for the meeting.

The White House believes that all these issues are related to one another.

One US official told Al Arabiya that Washington was in constant contact with Saudi Arabia over the regional matters.

Nevertheless, no final decisions were made or announced during Friday’s meeting over how to deal with Tehran going forward, officials said.

White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters earlier that “it’s not a decisional meeting.”

The Biden administration considers it too early to put forth a proposal on negotiations for several reasons, according to officials.

Malley has been on the job for less than a week, and although the Iran nuclear deal is a priority for Biden and his team, the president prefers to draw up a complete roadmap that includes Iran’s interference in Yemen, Syria, Iraq and Lebanon. This includes Iran’s ballistic missile programs, officials told Al Arabiya Friday.

Following Friday’s meeting, Secretary of State Antony Blinken virtually met with his counterparts from the United Kingdom, France and Germany to discuss common threats to Europe and the US.

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