Susan Rice Hosts Israeli Delegation for Talks on Iran

December 15, 2013  

Susan Rice, President Barack Obama’s national security adviser, hosted a series of meetings with Israeli officials in which the interim deal with Iran about its nuclear program was discussed, the White House said on Sunday.

The meetings, which took place last week, came about as a result of talks between Obama and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu last month after the deal was reached in Geneva.

According to the White House, Rice, along with her deputy, Tony Blinken, and senior officials from the departments of State and Treasury, met with Israeli national security adviser Yossi Cohen and other Israeli officials on Thursday and Friday.

“During the meetings, the U.S. team reaffirmed President Obama’s goal of preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon,” the White House said.

The talks focused on the efforts by the so-called P5+1 nations “to pursue a lasting and comprehensive settlement that would resolve the international community’s concerns regarding Iran’s nuclear program,” according to the statement.

Netanyahu has repeatedly said that the agreement that was signed with Iran is dangerous and will allow Tehran to continue its nuclear program and give nothing back to the West while being rewarded with sanctions relief.

Hours after the deal was reached, Obama phoned Netanyahu and, in an attempt to get him to tone down his criticism, suggested that the United States and Israel hold consultations regarding the Western efforts to negotiate a comprehensive solution.

That phone call came amid reports of tensions between Obama and Netanyahu over the Israeli leader’s criticism of the deal.

One report suggested that Obama told Netanyahu to “take a breather” from his criticism and shift attention to the terms of the final deal still under negotiation. Another report said that Obama, frustrated by Netanyahu’s rejection of the deal, had refused to take phone calls from the Israeli Prime Minister.

Another report said that Secretary of State John Kerry, as part of the administration’s efforts to convince Senators not to impose new sanctions on Iran, had told lawmakers to “ignore anything the Israelis say” about the Iran nuclear issue.

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