A team of US envoys is traveling to the Middle East this week for talks with key allies, a senior US official said on Wednesday, amid simmering concerns in the region about President Joe Biden’s attempt to rejoin the Iran nuclear deal.
“A senior interagency delegation will be traveling over the coming week to discuss a number of important matters related to US national security and ongoing efforts toward a de-escalation of tensions in the Middle East region,” the official said.
The delegation will be led by Brett McGurk, the White House National Security Council’s Middle East policy coordinator, and State Department counselor Derek Chollett, a source familiar with the trip said.
While the final itinerary was unclear, there were tentative plans for the team to visit Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Jordan. Bloomberg News was first to report the news of the trip.
Many US allies in the region are troubled by Biden’s attempt to rejoin the Iran nuclear deal, fearing a resumption of the accord may eventually allow Tehran to acquire atomic weapons that would leave them vulnerable to Iranian intimidation or military threat.
“They were vehemently against the deal and going right back into it is something that would alarm them,” said a former senior administration official.
Iran, Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia began a third round of meetings in Vienna this week aimed at agreeing on steps that would be needed if the agreement, which was abandoned by then-US President Donald Trump in 2018, is to be revived.