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Accusations of Israel spying on Iran talks heightens tensions with Netanyahu

March 26, 2015 at 12:07 pm

Tensions heightened on Tuesday between US President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu after the Wall Street Journal published a report claiming that Israel not only spied on the US’s nuclear talks with Iran, it shared information about the talks with Republican lawmakers in a bid to undermine Obama’s diplomatic efforts.

Reliable sources revealed that “the White House was still angry that Israel briefed members of Congress on the secret information in the hope of undermining any support for the agreement, which aims to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon.”

The speaker of the US House of Representatives, John Boehner, who extended an invitation to Netanyahu to address Congress earlier this month without White House ratification claimed he had no knowledge of the espionage and that he was “shocked that Israel spied on Iran nuclear talks and shared the information with [its] colleagues.” However, at the same time, he did not cancel a scheduled visit to Israel to celebrate the re-election of his friend Netanyahu.

Although Israel denied the allegations stressing that they were “unfounded”, Al-Quds news site learned that “spying on the talks occurred systematically, prompting the US administration not to share information with Israel, especially since Israel tried – and continues trying – to convince Democratic and Republican lawmakers to obstruct the negotiations.”

The Wall Street Journal quoted former and current US officials as saying that Israel’s goal was to disrupt the talks and obstruct any draft agreement.

The majority of Republicans opposes the agreement with Iran.

The Wall Street Journal quoted a senior US official as saying that, “the United States and Israel spying on each other is one thing, but that Israel steals American secrets and discloses them to members of the Congress to undermine US diplomatic efforts is something completely different.”

The official revealed that the White House discovered the operation when US intelligence agencies spying on Israel intercepted communications amongst Israeli officials that carried details the US believed could have come only from access to the confidential talks.

Obama has recently stressed that his differences with Netanyahu are not personal, but political.