A senior White House official has said that Israel’s “all-or-nothing” posture demanding a total halt to Iran’s nuclear energy program is a path to war.
In a conference call with think tanks and advocacy groups sympathetic to the Obama administration’s strategy with Iran, the official said Israel’s stance would “close the door on diplomacy” and would “essentially lead to war.”
The Jewish Telegraphic Agency obtained a recording of the conference on condition that the participants remained anonymous.
The official expressed frustration with Israel’s pushback against the US proposal for a “first step” agreement with Tehran that would exchange some modest sanctions relief for some restrictions in Iran’s nuclear energy program.
Iran and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council – the US, France, Britain, Russia and China – plus Germany kicked off their latest round of talks on Wednesday.
The two sides are working to hammer out an interim deal to pave the ground for the final resolution to the West’s decade-old nuclear standoff with Iran.
The recognition of Iran’s entitlement to enrich uranium for peaceful purposes remains one of the major sticking points in the talks.
In recent weeks, senior Israeli officials including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have been hard at work trying to discredit negotiations with the Islamic Republic.
Under the influence of the Israel lobby, a bipartisan group of 14 US senators issued a statement on Thursday saying they would move ahead with a new sanctions bill against Tehran over the coming weeks.
At a White House meeting on Tuesday, US President Barack Obama urged American senators to ignore the aggressive lobbying campaign by Israel and hold off on new sanctions against Tehran.
A recent poll shows a majority of Americans support a diplomatic agreement between Iran and the six world powers over the country’s nuclear energy program.
The survey conducted by ABC News/Washington Post found out that 64 percent of respondents back a deal that will ease sanctions in exchange for Iran restricting its nuclear program.