Israeli criticism of Iran deal ‘frustrating’ White House
Netanyahu and Obama in frequent ‘businesslike’ telephone contact over Iranian nuclear agreement, report says
The White House has been left “very frustrated” by the recent public criticism by Israeli officials of last week’s interim nuclear deal between Iran and Western powers, according to a Tuesday report that cited US officials close to the Obama administration.
The US is attempting to resolve the Iranian nuclear issue through diplomacy and sanctions, but is “not determined to avoid a confrontation with Iran at any price,” as some Israeli officials have said, according to a Tuesday article in the Haaretz daily.
“We understand that on the Iranian issue there is public support in Israel for a hard line,” a senior US official told the paper. He added that the administration was “not looking to avoid a confrontation with Iran… but there is a window where sanctions, new leadership in Iran and international unity give us a chance to solve this thing diplomatically more than any time before. We got our leverage and we want to use it.”
The disagreement between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Barack Obama over Iran is something the US administration has “learned to live with” and is not seen as “a crisis,” according to the report, which noted that dialogue between the two countries remained frequent and “businesslike.”
The senior official said that “we understand that Netanyahu will always take a harsh public line on Iran” but noted that “disagreements on the interim agreement harm our cooperation over the more important thing,” namely, the comprehensive agreement with Iran over its nuclear future, to be drawn up over the next six months.
The interim agreement, announced early last week, sets a six-month limit for Iran and the West to agree on a final status agreement regarding Iran’s nuclear power. In the meantime, the interim deal rolls back some of the economic sanctions imposed on Iran, in return for increased international inspections of Iran’s nuclear facilities and a limit to uranium enrichment by the Islamic Republic.
The prime minister and other Israeli officials have been publicly critical of the interim deal, saying that it does not go far enough in reducing Iran’s nuclear capability.