Report signalling a rift between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the country’s intelligence service Mossad over new sanctions on Iran leaked by the US President Obama, claim Israeli senior officials.
Bloomberg News reported Wednesday Israel’s Mossad officials lobbied the US Congress and Obama administration to avoid new sanctions against Iran, a move in direct opposition to Netanyahu’s policy on the case. Now Israeli officials claim that this information was leaked as revenge by the Obama administration.
Republican House Speaker John Boehner had invited Netanyahu to Washington to address a joint session of Congress next month, just ahead of the deadline on Iran’s nuclear program talks in March with the Obama administration and world powers - Russia, China, France, United Kingdom, and Germany.
The White House called the invitation a breach of protocol, saying the typical protocol would suggest that the leader of a country would contact the leader of another country when he’s traveling there.
“That certainly is how President [Barack] Obama’s trips are planned when he travels overseas. This particular event seems to be a departure from that protocol,” said the White House press secretary Josh Earnest Wednesday, indicating the anger of the Obama administration over the incident.
Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Tzachi Hanegbi said the Republicans invited Netanyahu to the US to embarrass President Obama, and the leaked document is Obama’s revenge on both the Republicans and Netanyahu.
Tzachi Hanegbi, the deputy foreign minister and a Netanyahu ally from the ruling Likud party, told Army Radio that the invite extended to Netanyahu was an attempt by the Republicans to embarrass President Barack Obama.
“Now the Republicans are the majority,” Hanegbi said. “They’re happy about this, and they will look to be a thorn in the president’s side in the remaining two years of his term, while the president will ignore them and continue to implement the policy in which he believes as much as he can.”
Obama will not meet Netanyahu in Washington
Meanwhile, President Barack Obama has asked Benjamin Netanyahu to stop encouraging U.S. senators and congressmen to advance new sanctions legislation against Iran.
Obama gave the message to Netanyahu personally via phone Monday, saying that he is already seeking a deal with Iran to prevent it from obtaining nuclear weapons and to assure the international community that the nuclear program is for nonviolent purposes only, according to a senior American official who asked to be credited anonymously.
Additionally, the White House has announced Thursday that the President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry will not meet Israeli PM during his ‘unexpected’ visit to Washington.