US accuses Israel of leaking information to torpedo talks with Iran

A senior Israeli official denied any deliberate leak of the confidential reports.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

A top American official has accused Israel of deliberately leaking information passed on to Jerusalem regarding the nuclear talks with Iran in order to torpedo them, Walla reported Wednesday.

According to the report, based on both U.S. and Israeli sources, National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan had a “very harsh conversation” with his Israeli counterpart Tzachi Hanegbi in a call Friday.

He said that the White House believes Israel is behind the leaks in the press in recent weeks regarding the unofficial understandings allegedly being reached between Washington and Tehran.

Biden administration was particularly perturbed that earlier this month Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had told the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee about the contacts.

He did not come out strongly against what he called the “less for less” deal, and has still not criticized it sharply, in contrast to his all-out offensive when then-president Obama introduced the original nuclear deal with Tehran in 2015.

There are those in the Biden administration who are also accusing Jerusalem of either directly or indirectly giving secret information on the issue to members of Congress who take a hard line against Iran.

Moreover, one American official said, Sullivan complained that much of the information that found its way to the media was inaccurate and did not reflect the truth about the quiet negotiations.

Israel was put in the loop as the White House talked indirectly with Tehran regarding unwritten understandings that reportedly include the Americans allowing Iran to receive billions of dollars from other countries that have been frozen in banks due to sanctions on the Islamic Republic.

In return, the Iranians would freeze their enrichment of uranium at 60%, even though this level of enrichment has no peace-time use, and refrain from selling ballistic missiles to Russia, which Moscow could use in its ongoing invasion of Western-backed Ukraine.

Israeli officials rejected the American charge.

“The claim that there were deliberate Israeli leaks aimed at thwarting understanding between Iran and the United States is false,” one senior official told Haaretz.

The Israeli government has been saying both publicly and privately for weeks that it “does indeed have questions and even concerns on the subject and we raise this in the open dialogue we have with the Americans,” the official added.

At last week’s Cabinet meeting, Netanyahu referred to the talks, saying, “Even … ‘mini agreements,’ in our opinion, do not serve our goals, and we oppose those as well.”

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