Report: US President Joe Biden and Anthony Blinken meet with Yossi Cohen in Washington

On the American side, the talks included Blinken's deputy Wendy Sherman, National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan, Middle East expert Brett McGurk and the diplomat Derek Chollet

Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken meets virtually with the Committee to Protect Journalists' Board of Directors, from the U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C., on April 29, 2021. [State Department photo by Ron Przysucha/ Public Domain]

President Biden met over the weekend with the head of the Mossad, Yossi Cohen, but did the president only "drop by" to express condolences over the tragedy on Mount Meron, or to speak with the Mossad director about Iran? There are various reports. 

According to one report, President Biden dropped by the meeting between Yossi Cohen and National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan to express condolences over the tragedy on Mount Meron. The National Security Council confirmed that the meeting took place and emphasized that it was unplanned.  

However, TV networks in Israel as well as the Axios and Al Jazeera websites reported that the president spoke with Yossi Cohen about Iran, and it was emphasized that the White House did not confirm that there was a meeting or a discussion on any topic.  

"The two-hour meeting was the second this week in Washington involving senior officials from the two countries and underscored Israel’s unease with ongoing indirect nuclear negotiations between Iran and the United States in Vienna and Iran more broadly," AP quoted a senior US official in Washington as saying regarding the talks over the weekend between Cohen and Sullivan. "Although other issues were discussed, Israel used Thursday's meeting to 'express strong concerns' about Iran."

On the American side, the talks included Blinken's deputy Wendy Sherman, National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan, Middle East affairs expert Brett McGurk and the diplomat Derek Chollet. The head of the Mossad was accompanied by Israeli Ambassador to Washington Gilad Erdan. The senior official told AP that the Israeli government protested many times over the U.S. intention to return to the nuclear agreement, while expressing concern over Iran's development of nuclear weapons. 

It was also reported that the Biden administration is considering the cancellation of some of the sanctions imposed on Iran. It is possible that they are ones that are not connected to the nuclear issue, but rather ones connected to terrorism, the Iranian missile program and violation of human rights – all on the condition that the Biden administration is convinced that the specific sanctions imposed on Iran were not justified.