The secret letter President Barack Obama sent to Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei seeking cooperation in fighting Islamic State was kept a secret from Israel as well.
Israel learned about it only a short time after it was sent, and the disclosure was made through unofficial channels, not the usual contacts with the American administration, according to an official in Yerushalayim who spoke with Haaretz.
The conduct of the Obama administration, keeping Israel in the dark, has deepened suspicions in the Prime Minister’s Office that the nuclear deal likely to emerge with Iran will not be sufficiently tough.
The letter aside, Israeli concerns have only increased in recent days. National Security Adviser Yossi Cohen met with American officials, including U.S. National Security Advisor Susan Rice, 10 days ago in Washington.
Cohen and representatives from the Israeli Foreign Ministry have the impression that America’s inept handling of the negotiations has had the effect of hardening Iran’s position.
The Israeli officials reportedly told their U.S. counterparts that the Iranians think the Americans are more anxious to reach a deal than Tehran, and so they’re in no hurry to close a deal now.
Marie Harf, deputy spokesperson for the U.S. Department of State, denied the report, saying that “both the subjects and the details in that account of our recent consultations with the Israelis are inaccurate.” “Any attempt to misrepresent what has been a very constructive dialogue with our Israeli friends on the Iranian nuclear negotiations is disappointing,” she added.
Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu responded sharply to the story: “I think the struggle with ISIS doesn’t need to come at the expense of preventing Iran from obtaining nuclear arms,” he said. “One has to act in both these directions, and not tie one to the other.”