Former ambassador Kurtzer: US and Israel are going to disagree on Iran

Dan Kurtzer, former US ambassador to Israel, says Biden will continue to be friendly to Jewish State, questions delay in congratulations.

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

Joe Biden
Joe Biden

Former US Ambassador to Israel Dan Kurtzer spoke with Ishay Shnerb of Galei Tzahal (IDF Radio) about what former Vice President Joe Biden's victory will mean for the US-Israel relationship going forward.

"He's been a very long-time supporter of Israel and of Israel's security and well-being. He has a very long relationship with the prime minister and with most senior officials. He genuinely likes Israel. And I think we're going to see an administration that tries to build on a strong relationship and make it even deeper and better," Kurtzer said.

Kurtzer said that the Biden Administration would not see eye to eye on all issues, especially the issue of Iran. "Of course, there are always some issues on which we will disagree. I think the Iran nuclear program may be one of those. But I would anticipate that president-elect Biden will try to talk very seriously about this with the prime minister rather than doing anything unilaterally. I think we will get into very deep strategic dialogue on some of the issues where we disagree."

"They certainly would like to find a way to stop the Iranian [nuclear] program, which [the Iran nuclear] deal actually accomplished. During the three years when it was in effect, the Iranian program was stopped dead in its tracks, and then it restarted after the Trump Administration pulled out of the deal. So my guess is that the Biden Administration will want to find a way to go back in. I think they'll talk to Israel about it before they do anything, but there will be a very significant interest in resuming that kind of an arrangement that stops the Iranian program and stops enrichment of uranium.

He said that Prime Minister Netanyahu's delay in congratulating Biden on his election had not gone unnoticed. "It has already raised questions here as to why there has been silence out of the government of Israel. I don't think it'll harm the relationship, but it's led to this question mark of why other countries are sending in congratulatory messages - and even some politicians in Israel are sending in congratulatory messages. So I think the longer there is silence from the government, the more questions will be raised."

Turning to the election itself, Kurtzer dismissed Republican legal challenges to the election outcome in several swing states. "If a case gets to the Supreme Court, the Supreme Court will rule on the basis of legal issues, not political. And there are no legal issues that seem to be in violation. For example, there was a complaint brought by the Republicans in Pennsylvania a couple of months ago, and they've now brought the same complaint back to the Supreme Court for the third time. But there's no evidence of any problems, so this just seems to be a stalling technique without any merit."