The Barack Obama-led administration on Wednesday accused the Israeli government of misleading the public on negotiations between the U.S. and Iran over the latter's nuclear program. U.S. Officials reportedly said that Israel is engaged in “cherry-picking.”
“I think it is safe to say not everything you are hearing from the Israeli government is an accurate reflection of the details of the talks,” U.S. state department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said on Wednesday. She also confirmed that the U.S. government is withholding some details related to the talks from the Israelis.
White House spokesman Josh Earnest also said that some of the things that the Israeli government has said about America's negotiating position in the talks "have not been accurate," according to media reports.
The U.S., Russia, China, France, Germany, Britain and Iran are currently in negotiations to regulate Iran’s nuclear program. The so-called P5+1 group is scheduled to deliver a basic framework by the end of March, with a more detailed agreement due by June 30.
Sources told Haaretz that U.S. officials were limiting the information given to Israel in the face of an ongoing diplomatic dispute. U.S. officials are reportedly concerned that the Israeli administration, led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, is deliberately leaking sensitive information about the negotiations to the press in an effort to scuttle the talks. Information is still being passed to the Israelis, but at “a lower resolution,” the source told Haaretz.
Israel has been a vocal opponent of any potential nuclear deal with Iran, an issue that has further strained the frosty relations between Obama and Netanyahu.
U.S.-Israel relations have also been strained by Netanyahu's decision to accept an invitation by House Speaker John Boehner to deliver a speech to the U.S. Congress in March. The White House and several Senate Democrats have accused Boehner of breaching protocol.
Earlier, on Sunday, Boehner acknowledged that he had avoided telling the White House to avoid “interference,” in an interview with Fox News.
“I wanted to make sure that there was no interference,” Boehner said. “I frankly didn’t want that getting in the way, quashing what I thought was a real opportunity.”