US Admits Keeping Israel in Dark on Iran

Reports confirm that the US is concealing from Israel details regarding the proposed Iranian nuclear deal.

By: Atara Beck, World Israel News

Josh Earnest, White House Press Secretary. (Youtube screenshot)

Josh Earnest, White House Press Secretary. (Youtube screenshot)

The US has confirmed that it is keeping Israel in the dark regarding the Iranian nuclear negotiations. Spokespersons for the White House and the State Department admitted that sensitive details of the negotiations were being concealed from Israel due to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s public objection to several of the concessions made by the P5+1.

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest told reporters that details of the negotiations with Iran were being kept secret in order to give “negotiators the room and the space to negotiate.” When asked pointedly if that meant Israel was only being given limited information, he answered, “The United States is not going to be in a position of negotiating this agreement in public, particularly when we see that there is a continued practice of cherry-picking specific pieces of information and using them out of context to distort the negotiating position of the United States.”

State Department Spokeswoman Jen Psaki similarly indicated that Israel is being kept out of the loop in order to ensure that “classified negotiating details stay behind closed doors.” She added, “I think it’s safe to say that not everything you’re hearing from the Israeli government is an accurate reflection of the details of the talks. There’s a selective sharing of information.”

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European officials also confirmed to the New York Times that they were told not to share sensitive information with Israel due to leaks.

Public criticism of ‘a dangerous deal’

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and US Secretary Of State John Kerry. (Photo: Miriam Alster/Flash90)

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and US Secretary Of State John Kerry. (Photo: Miriam Alster/Flash90)

Netanyahu publicly criticized the current state of negotiations on Wednesday during a visit with US Senator David Perdue (R-Georgia). “The Islamic Republic of Iran is relentlessly pursuing nuclear weapons with the express purpose of destroying the State of Israel. The P5+1’s latest proposal won’t stop them,” he said. “The Iranians of course know the details of that proposal and Israel does too. So when we say that the current proposal would lead to a bad deal, a dangerous deal, we know what we’re talking about, senator.”

An Israeli official explained some of Netanyahu’s objections to the Jerusalem Post. “In the past we understood from our interlocutors from the P5+1 that the goal of the negotiation was that Iran would be kept years away from a breakout capacity…What we understand now is that today they are talking about a year.”

Another issue noted by the official was the number of centrifuges that will be allowed to continue spinning. “We see no way that 6,000 or 7,000 centrifuges can be okay, irrespective of other elements in the package,” he said, rebuffing an American official quoted by the New York Times as saying that the number of centrifuges was contingent on getting rid of most of their fuel.

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Tensions between the Obama administration and Netanyahu have been exacerbated by the anticipated end of nuclear negotiations at the end of March and the Israeli national elections on March 17. Netanyahu was invited by Speaker of the House John Boehner to address Congress regarding the Iranian nuclear negotiations. Obama is refusing to meet with Netanyahu during his US visit, claiming that it would be inappropriate so close to the Israeli elections.