U.S. denies ‘punishing’ Israel by withholding information on Iran talks

The Iran nuclear program's heavy-water reactor at Arak. Credit: Nanking2012 via Wikimedia Commons.

(Israel Hayom/Exclusive to JNS.org) The White House and U.S. State Department denied a report by Israel’s Channel 2 on Sunday that suggested the Obama administration is “punishing” Israel by not updating the Jewish state about ongoing nuclear talks between world powers and Iran.

“Conversations continue with Israel on the Iran nuclear negotiations,” a State Department official said. “Undersecretary [Wendy] Sherman met with Israeli NSA [National Security Adviser Yossi] Cohen and Minister for Intelligence and Strategic Planning [Yuval] Steinitz in Munich and will see NSA Cohen again this week.”

National Security Council spokesman Alistair Baskey said, “This report is patently false. National Security Adviser [Susan] Rice maintains regular contact with her Israeli counterpart National Security Adviser Cohen on the full range of issues of mutual concern to our nations… We also continue our frequent and routine contact at various professional levels within the intelligence, military, and diplomatic spheres.”

Channel 2 commentator Amnon Abramovich claimed Sunday that Sherman, the chief U.S. nuclear negotiator with Iran, had stopped briefing her Israeli colleagues due to the “tendentious and manipulative use of information” and that Rice had broken contact with her Israeli counterpart.

The Israeli Prime Minister’s Office declined to comment on the Channel 2 report.

Posted on February 16, 2015 .