William Burns, nominee for Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) director, testifies during his Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, February 24, 2021. Tom Williams/Pool via REUTERS
JERUSALEM, Aug 11 (Reuters) – U.S. Central Intelligence Agency director William Burns held talks in Israel on Wednesday with Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, with Iran high on their agenda, an Israeli statement said.
Regional tensions have risen over an attack on July 29 on an Israeli-managed tanker off the coast of Oman that Israel, the United States and Britain blamed on Tehran.
Iran has denied any involvement in the suspected drone strike in which two crew members – a Briton and a Romanian – were killed.
A statement issued by Bennett’s office said the Israeli leader held talks with Burns in Tel Aviv, where “they discussed the situation in the Middle East, with emphasis on Iran, and possibilities for expanding and deepening regional cooperation”.
Announcing Burns’s visit, the statement said he met on Tuesday with David Barnea, the new head of Israel’s Mossad intelligency agency, to discuss Iran’s nuclear programme “and other regional challenges”.
Burns, who was sworn in as CIA director in March, was expected to meet Palestinian officials, including President Mahmoud Abbas, in the city of Ramallah in the occupied West Bank.
Reporting by Jeffrey Heller; Editing by Nick Macfie
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