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In Israel, Senior White House Official to Discuss Iran

U.S. National Security Adviser Susan Rice speaks during the White House daily briefing in March. Rice is due in Israel this week, where the topic of Iran's nuclear program will be one item on the agenda. U.S. National Security Adviser Susan Rice speaks during the White House daily briefing in March. Rice is due in Israel this week, where the topic of Iran's nuclear program will be one item on the agenda. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

A senior White House official is traveling to Israel for talks on Wednesday, with Iran's nuclear program among the items on the agenda.

Susan Rice, President Obama's national security adviser, is leading a delegation composed of representatives from the State, Defense and Treasury departments, as well as the intelligence agencies, Reuters reports. While White House spokesman Jay Carney said the issue of Iran's nuclear program is to be discussed, he noted that no new developments should be expected from this week's visit.

Jerusalem in the past has been skeptical that negotiations between six world powers and Tehran could prevent the country from developing nuclear weapons. Iran has maintained it has no such ambitions.

Rice's trip comes as some Israeli officials appeared to adjust their position on Iran's nuclear work, moving from unconditional opposition to accepting some degree of peaceful capability if strong safeguards are in place, Al-Monitor reported.

Speaking to the Guardian, a top Iranian envoy, in an apparent reference to Israel, noted that there is still strong opposition to the ongoing Iran nuclear negotiations.

"I don't want to use the word 'warmongers,'" Seyed Abbas Araqchi, Iran's deputy foreign minister for legal and international affairs, told the newspaper. "But these people want continuing tension in our region. They don't want the sanctions on Iran to end. They don't want Iran to be a major player in this region."

Meanwhile, Iranian officials and the International Atomic Energy Agency have agreed on inspections measures for the country's planned Arak reactor, Reuters reported separately, citing the semi-official IRNA news agency. Western officials fear that the plant could produce material for use in nuclear weapons.

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