Iran on agenda in Israeli PM's visit to Putin
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Jerusalem (AFP) –
Israel's prime minister will fly to Sochi in Russia next week to meet President Vladimir Putin for talks including on Iran's nuclear programme, Naftali Bennett's office said on Tuesday.
Moscow is one of the signatories to a 2015 deal that saw sanctions relief for Iran in exchange for limits to its nuclear capability.
"The two will discuss a series of diplomatic, security and economic issues involving both countries, as well as important regional matters, primarily Iran's nuclear programme," Bennett's office said.
Former US president Donald Trump withdrew from the deal in 2018 and reimposed harsh sanctions, leading Tehran to gradually roll back its commitments under the agreement.
Bennett told the United Nations General Assembly last month that Israel "will not allow Iran to acquire a nuclear weapon."
Tehran says its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes.
The UK, China, France and Germany are also parties to the 2015 agreement. After US President Joe Biden took office talks began in Vienna in April to revive the deal but they have been suspended since June when Iran elected ultra-conservative Ebrahim Raisi as president.
Iran's Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said in Moscow last week, during talks with Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, that he expects discussions to start again in Austria soon.
Lavrov said the negotiations "should be resumed as soon as possible" and called on Washington to return to its obligations under the accord.
This will be Bennett's first official visit to Russia since taking office in June, after his predecessor Benjamin Netanyahu's 12 straight years as prime minister.
Netanyahu had boasted of his friendship with Putin and was a frequent visitor to Russia.
Putin congratulated Bennett after he was sworn in and said that Russian-Israeli cooperation would help strengthen "peace, security and stability in the Middle East."
© 2021 AFP