Israel tries to undermine possible international nuclear deal with Iran

The Washington Post reports: Israeli officials registered fierce opposition to an emerging international nuclear deal with Iran on Friday, making clear that the Obama administration faced the uncomfortable prospect of reaching an agreement with one of America’s firmest enemies while overriding the objections of one of its firmest friends.

Backed by bipartisan supporters in Congress, Israel is casting a pall over what the White House had hoped was good news — a bargain for Iran to suspend most of its uranium enrichment for six months in exchange for a temporary easing of sanctions. Before meeting Secretary of State John F. Kerry on Friday, however, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that the agreement would give up too much too early and that it threatened Israel’s security.

“This is a very bad deal,” Netanyahu said.

Kerry traveled from Israel to Switzerland, where he joined talks with Iranian and European foreign ministers in an attempt to narrow what he said were remaining differences in negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program. Kerry also bargained directly with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, a clear sign that the Obama administration prizes the deal, and the possibility of better U.S. relations with Iran, despite Israeli objections.

“I want to emphasize there are still some very important issues on the table that are unresolved,” Kerry said in Geneva. “It is important for those to be properly, thoroughly addressed.”

Kerry’s brief remarks contained none of the hopeful rhetoric about a new day in U.S.-Iranian relations that he has voiced before, perhaps in deference to Israel. He did not make any public remarks in Israel, perhaps in hopes of avoiding a public confrontation with Netanyahu. [Continue reading…]

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