Middle East Experts: Trump’s Promise to Israel That Iran Won’t be Allowed to Get ‘Nuclear Weapons Capability’ Could Indicate Shift in US Policy

The Trump administration’s promise to Israel this week that Iran will not be allowed to get “nuclear weapons capability” could indicate a US policy shift vis-à-vis the Islamic Republic, two Middle East experts assessed on Thursday.

A day earlier, a White House-published joint readout of the meeting between US President Donald Trump and visiting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, “The two leaders agreed that the Iran nuclear deal is a terrible deal for the United States, Israel, and the world. The president assured the prime minister that Iran must not, and will not, obtain nuclear weapons capability.”

In a Thursday conference call for reporters organized by The Israel Project, David Makovsky — director of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy think tank’s Project on the Middle East Peace Process — said the language of the statement “might be signaling something.”

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“Is he [Trump] saying that the United States will not allow Iran to get highly-enriched uranium, that’s weapons-grade uranium?” Makovsky stated. “It would be interesting to ask either at the White House or the Pentagon about the meaning of the phrase that they use because every word here is pregnant with meaning and the past administration did not want to use that word ‘capability.’ They said, you know, ‘they will not get a nuclear bomb, period.’”

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