U.S. Denies Iran Linkage in Peace Talks

YERUSHALAYIM (Reuters) -

A senior Palestinian official accused the United States of asking Palestinians to make security concessions in the peace talks in order to silence Israel’s criticism of world power diplomacy over Iran’s nuclear program.

Dan Shapiro, the U.S. ambassador to Israel, denied on Monday any quid pro quo between the Iranian and Palestinian talks.

“These two issues concern both Israel’s security and our security and the interests of all the Middle East, that it be a more quiet and stable region. But we do not see any linkage in which we seek to give on one issue and receive on the other,” Shapiro told Israel’s Army Radio.

The accusations by Yasser Abed Rabbo, who joined Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in a meeting with Secretary of State John Kerry last week, further clouded hopes of achieving a negotiated accord by an April target date.

Kerry, who is expected to return to the region late this week, presented both sides with suggestions on Thursday about how Israel might fend off future threats from a Palestinian state.

Israel has not commented on the U.S. proposals, but cabinet minister Yaakov Peri said on Sunday the government had not yet agreed to them.