U.S. sanctions chief visits Israel to discuss Iran deal, terrorism


(JTA) — A senior U.S. official in charge of implementing sanctions is traveling to Israel to discuss the nuclear deal reached between Iran and world powers, the U.S. Department of Treasury said.

Acting Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Adam Szubin is scheduled to stay in Israel from Friday through Monday, the Treasury Department said in a statement sent out Thursday. In an interview with The New York Times, Szubin pledged to intensify sanctions against Iranian terror involvement and Hezbollah.

“Intensifying those sanctions and ensuring that they bite ever deeper is a core part of my mission,” he said. “We plan to enforce them with all the toughness that people have come to expect from the U.S. Treasury.”

It will be his first visit in Israel since the Iran nuclear deal, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action on Iran, or  JCPOA, was reached in July between Iran, the United States and five other world powers: China, Russia, Britain, France and Germany.

“I plan to focus on the JCPOA, but also on Treasury’s continued efforts to target Iran’s malign activities,” Szubin told the Times. He said he would discuss deepening sanctions against Hezbollah and the Iranian Revolutionary Guards during his Israel visit.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu strongly opposes the accord, which imposes limits on Iran’s nuclear program in return for relief from sanctions. He argues the deal does not do enough to curb Iran’s nuclear program and will bring Tehran a windfall in sanctions relief that could help fund regional conflicts.

While in Israel, Szubin will discuss details of the nuclear deal and “emphasize the United States’ commitment to increasing cooperation with Israel to combat Iran’s support for terrorism and other destabilizing activity in the region,” the Treasury said.

A Treasury spokesman said Szubin would meet with Dore Gold, director-general of Israel’s Foreign Ministry, National Security Adviser Yossi Cohen and Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz, among other officials, Reuters reported.

According to the Times, Szubin requested the meetings.

Also Friday, President Barack Obama was set to speak directly to the North American Jewish community about the Iran nuclear deal via a live webcast in an effort to shore up support for the agreement.

Vice President Joe Biden is also set to meet with American Jewish leaders in Florida on Sept. 3 to make the case for the Iran nuclear deal.

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