Tags: Barack Obama | Iran | Israel | War on Terrorism | US | Israel | Iran

NYT: US, Israeli Relations Chill Over Iran Nuclear Talks

By    |   Wednesday, 18 Feb 2015 06:09 PM

With the Obama administration "racing to negotiate the outlines of a nuclear deal with Iran" by the end of March, aides to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu claim they are being intentionally left in the dark about the talks between the United States and Iran, The New York Times reported.

While U.S. officials deny this claim, one of Washington's "closest negotiating partners" says it has been warned against being too open with the Israelis because "whatever we say may be used in a selective way," according to the newspaper.

U.S. officials claim the Israelis are providing misleading accounts about the scope of uranium enrichment that Iran will be able to continue under President Obama's proposal.

National Security Council spokesman Alastair C. Baskey declared that the latest report that Washington is freezing out Jerusalem, which aired on Israel's Channel 2, was "patently false" and said Obama's National Security Adviser Susan Rice "maintains regular contact with her Israeli counterpart," Yossi Cohen.

But accounts from European officials suggest a definite chill to U.S.-Israel relations as they apply to the Iran nuclear talks.

One European official said Wendy Sherman — the No. 3 State Department official and top U.S. negotiator with Iran — had recently cautioned against telling the Israelis too much "because the details could be twisted to undermine a deal," the Times reported.

In a recent conversation, another European official said Secretary of State John Kerry, who has been involved in the negotiations with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, was "fuming about Israeli leaks" every couple of weeks. 

A U.S. official complained that Israeli officials are skillful at picking out what the Times described as "one or two details that seem particularly incriminating."

The newspaper appeared to suggest that the Israelis were misleading in their portrayal of the Obama administration by suggesting they had capitulated to Iran by giving up on the idea of dismantling Iran's entire capability to enrich uranium.

In fact, "even the George W. Bush administration had given up on that idea, conceding that there was no way to reach a deal without Iran retaining at least a face-saving amount of enrichment capability," the Times stated.

The Times did not mention a few critical differences between the approaches by the Obama administration and the Bush administration: The Bush administration did not provide Iran with billions of dollars worth of relief from international sanctions. Nor did the Bush White House suggest imposing sanctions against Israel over unrelated issues while granting Iran sanctions relief.

The Times reported that last fall, Iran was offered about 4,500 centrifuges if it shipped most of its fuel to Russia. There is talk "of raising that figure to 6,500 centrifuges, but only if Iran reconfigures them in a way that would greatly lower their efficiency," the newspaper said.

The Times did not mention that Iran is believed to have installed 19,000 centrifuges, or the fact that the nation's real decision-maker — Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei — has said that Iran's "absolute need" is to have 190,000 centrifuges.

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With the Obama administration "racing to negotiate the outlines of a nuclear deal with Iran" by the end of March, aides to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu claim they are being intentionally left in the dark about U.S.-Iran talks, The New York Times reported.
US, Israel, Iran, nuclear, relations, leaks, negotiation, centrifuges, chill, United States, Obama, Netanyahu, Ayatollah Khamenei
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2015-09-18
Wednesday, 18 Feb 2015 06:09 PM
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