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Iran’s nuclear deal could weaken US efforts to end Israeli-Gaza violence

The United States plans to revive the nuclear deal with Iran, and that could undermine efforts to end the conflict between Israel and Palestinian militants in Gaza, an analyst told CNBC on Monday.

The escalation of violence in the Middle East – including Israeli airstrikes in the Gaza Strip and rocket attacks by the Hamas terrorist group on Israeli cities – killed at least 188 people in the Gaza Strip and eight in Israel after tensions erupted last week. The dead included 55 children in Gaza and a 5-year-old boy in Israel, the Associated Press reported.

President Joe Biden has shown little sign that he will step up public pressure on Israel to agree to an immediate ceasefire ̵

1; and this may be due in part to his desire to revive Iran’s nuclear deal, said Jonathan Shanzer, senior vice president of science. research at the Hawk Foundation for the Defense of Democracies.

Shanzer told CNBC’s Squawk Box Asia that Washington’s silence could have something to do with Iran’s nuclear deal – officially called the Joint Comprehensive Action Plan (JCPOA), which was abandoned by the previous administration in 2018.

Iran and Hamas

A return to the deal would result in Iran receiving billions of dollars in easing sanctions in exchange for limiting its nuclear program. Tehran can use the money to fund the fighters, as “Iran is Hamas’ main sponsor,” Shanzer explained.

He added that the United States would inadvertently indirectly support both sides in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Israel’s missile defense system (L) intercepts missiles (R) fired from Hamas’ movement to southern Israel from Beit Lahia in the northern Gaza Strip, as seen in the sky over the Gaza Strip on the night of May 14, 2021.

Anas Baba | AFP | Getty Images

“This, by the way, may contribute to some extent to why the United States is a little quieter, as Israel has acted with impunity on the last day or something,” he added, adding that Israel “is on top of that.” this conflict. “

The United States can remain silent for a few more days, which will allow Israel to further weaken Hamas’ battle group, he said.

Ryan Ball, a Middle East and North African analyst at risky consulting firm Stratfor, told CNBC Street Signs Asia that the United States is the only country in the world that can change Israel’s behavior and that there are “emerging signs” that Washington wants a ceasefire. He agreed that Israel was in the place of the driver of the conflict.

The United States last week objected to the United Nations Security Council’s efforts to issue a public statement on Israeli-Palestinian tensions, fearing the statement could harm behind-the-scenes diplomacy.

A separate Reuters report said that US Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield told the Security Council that “the United States is working tirelessly through diplomatic channels to try to end this conflict.”

Negotiations on a nuclear deal with Iran

The conflict between Israel and Hamas has not seriously affected the negotiations for nuclear deals with Iran, analysts from the risk consulting agency Eurasia Group said in a note over the weekend.

Prior to the latest clashes, talks to revive the nuclear deal were already mired in “the complexity of easing sanctions and nuclear restrictions,” analysts say.

However, the Biden administration has rejected critics who have argued that the United States should suspend talks with Iran at a time when Iran’s ally Hamas is firing rockets at Israel, the Eurasia Group said in a statement.

“Yet the confrontation is likely to increase pressure on the administration – including from moderate Democrats – to draw up a credible plan for further negotiations with Tehran, especially in terms of its support for regional proxies,” the report said.

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