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President Joe Biden is seeking a well-deserved victory during his visit to the Middle East this week as his presidency has been in tatters domestically with recent Supreme Court losses, inflation, recession fears and a rock-bottom approval rating. Overall, the president faces an energy crisis and the Russian-Ukrainian war.
He may have a golden opportunity: the Iran nuclear deal.
Biden has a chance to revive the deal, but first he must convince worried Israeli and Saudi officials that it will be effective in preventing Iran from becoming a nuclear power.
Biden will begin his trip on Wednesday when he lands in Israel, beginning a three-day visit to the country. Discussions on the Iran nuclear deal are expected to be the focus of meetings he has with Israeli officials.
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While in Israel, Biden is expected to learn more about the country’s new “Iron Beam” missile defense system. He will also visit the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial and receive Israel’s Presidential Medal of Honor.
The president is also expected to join Israeli leaders in issuing a “Jerusalem Declaration” that will condemn Iran’s nuclear program and its ambitions to weaponize nuclear energy.
The statement will state that the United States and Israel will use “all elements of their national power against the Iranian nuclear threat”, according to an Israeli official.
The trip follows the failure of Biden administration negotiators to secure concessions from Iran at a meeting in Qatar last month.
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On Friday, Biden will travel to Saudi Arabia, landing first in the port city of Jeddah to meet King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
Saudi Arabia has remained frustrated as Biden clings to hopes of a new deal with Iran and US-Saudi relations have grown strained since Biden said he would make the country a “pariah” in for their human rights violations.
Biden’s relationship with Mohammed bin Salman is particularly strained as the president blamed him for the 2018 murder of American journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
While in Jeddah, Biden is expected to announce his administration’s vision for the Middle East, the White House has said.
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In 2015, when Biden was vice president of the United States, he oversaw passage of the Iran nuclear deal brokered by President Barack Obama. At the time, Middle Eastern countries put aside their differences to mark what many pundits called a historic agreement.
However, just three years later, then-President Donald Trump canceled the deal which he and his critics said did not go far enough to deter Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. .
The nuclear deal included Britain, France, Germany, Russia, China and the European Union.
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Biden will be the first US president to travel directly from Israel to Saudi Arabia, as the two traditionally hostile countries have found common ground in their enmity towards Iran.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.