Iran Analysis: Angry US Busts Israel — “You Spied on the Nuclear Talks”

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Angered at Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu — over both his high-profile attempt earlier this month to undermine the nuclear talks with Iran and his pre-election pledge never to recognize a Palestinian state — the Obama Administration has publicly claimed that Israel spied on the negotiations with the Iranians.

“Current and former US officials” used The Wall Street Journal, which headlined on Tuesday: “Soon after the US and other major powers entered negotiations last year to curtail Iran’s nuclear program, senior White House officials learned Israel was spying on the closed-door talks.”

See also Iran Daily: Israel Tours Europe to Block Nuclear Deal

The officials said Israel carried out electronic surveillance and used human intelligence to acquire information from confidential US briefings, informants, and diplomatic contacts in Europe.

Officials said Israel’s spying was discovered through intercepted communications among Israeli officials, with details that could have come only from access to the confidential talks.

Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon denied the allegations, saying that the Government had not received an official complaint from the Obama Administration:

There is no way, and there was no way, that Israel spied on the Americans. That is seriously forbidden among every level of Israel’s policy leaders.

Israel’s security-intelligence relationship with the U.S. has suffered no harm, someone is just trying to stir conflict. It’s a shame that such winds are blowing into the clandestine channels in which we conduct this relationship.

Netanyahu’s office said, “The false allegations are clearly intended to undermine the strong ties between the United States and Israel and the security and intelligence relationship we share.”

The Obama Administration’s revelations raise the possibility that Israeli officials used the intelligence to leak details of the nuclear talks, in the midst of the negotiations and just before Netanyahu’s trip to Washington.

On March 1, the Israeli daily Haaretz published claims about a draft agreement and summarized:

An Iranian proposal to close down a third of its centrifuges and relinquish most of its low-enriched uranium has led to progress in talks with the six world powers in Geneva….However, many issues remain unresolved and the chances of reaching an agreement on Iran’s nuclear program by March 30 are low.

The Haaretz report attributed the information to unnamed “Western diplomats”. Reporting the leak, EA WorldView assumed the details had come from inside the Iran-5+1 talks, through American or European officials. However, the phrase “Western diplomats” has been used by news agencies in the past to hide Israeli sources making claims about Iran’s nuclear program.

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5 COMMENTS

  1. CNN: 367 House lawmakers warn Obama on Iran

    open letter to President Barack Obama warning him that any nuclear deal with Iran will effectively require congressional approval for implementation.

    A group of bipartisan senators have penned a bill mandating that any deal be reviewed and approved by Congress, but the House letter notes that lawmakers have another way to halt an agreement — by refusing to roll back sanctions.

    http://edition.cnn.com/2015/03/23/politics/house-letter-obama-iran/

  2. It is really getting stupid and boring when you hear politician say “I’m shocked, shocked! you were spying on us…”

  3. Hard to say what is more uncredible here:

    A) That the Obama administration would be able to consider alleged Israeli spying due to Israel having confidential details. The admin said it was keeping Israel informed, and If Israel is being kept informed, there couldn’t have been any ‘confidential’ details. The Obama administration *never* lies, so this doesn’t make any sense.

    B) That Obama admin officials would out an intelligence operation, leading to cutoff of information and various risks, just in order to get a snipe in a news story that would be forgotten in a fortnight. This admin is too responsible for that.

    C) That the admin would blame Israel for spying, without any real evidence that Israel is actually spying, or for that matter, on whom Israel is spying (is spying on Iran against American national interest)? And that it would do that, by making themselves look like total hypocrites. The admin is definitely not hypocritical.

    Wait, that was published in the Wall Street Journal. No wonder that a conservative news outlet would publish something making this administration look horrible. I am disappointed that EA Worldview swallowed this hook line and sinker though…

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