Talks between Iran and the “5+1” group of nations will resume Wednesday in Geneva, but will Iran and the US railroad Israel? The previous session of negotiations ended without agreement when the US and other permanent members of the UN Security Council – China, Russia and the United Kingdom, along with Germany – proposed a deal aimed at easing international sanctions on Iran in exchange for that country scaling back its nuclear program.
It was reported that the dissenting voice was the fifth member of the Security Council, France, which wanted to maintain sanctions until the Islamic Republic abandoned its enrichment of uranium. Israel, too, was unhappy with the deal put forward.
According to a report on Israeli television, The White House had met with a representative of Iran on a number of occasions previous to the Geneva talks. Israel’s Channel 10 reports that White House Senior Adviser Valerie Jarrett has met with Iran’s Atomic Energy chief, Ali Akbar Salehi, in a bid to craft a deal that would ease the pressure of international sanctions on Iran. If the report – which is based on claims by anonymous Israeli officials – is true, it would mean that Iranian-born Jarrett is undermining the authority of US Secretary of State John Kerry. Rumors of such secret talk go back to 2012.
The US administration continues to provide assurances to Israel, although there is skepticism in the Jewish state that Iran and the US may railroad Israel by pressuring them into accepting a deal on Iran that falls short of demanding the termination of Iran’s nuclear program. Iran has recently stated that it is not calling for the international community to recognize its right to uranium enrichment. The Iranians may have decided on a slightly more conciliatory tone in order to relieve that banking and oil sanctions that have hobbled their economy.
Should the 5+1 nations come to an agreement with Iran that allows it to maintain a nuclear program, Israel could still resort to a military option. A French member of parliament has warned that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu would order an attack on Iran if a deal is struck. “I know this. I know him.” Meyer Habib reportedly told French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, referring to Netanyahu, “You have to toughen your positions in order to prevent war.”
The White House has denied that any secret talks with Iran have taken place; a National Security spokesperson calling the report “absolutely, 100 percent false.”
A British Newspaper, the Sunday Times, has reported that Israel has been coordinating with the kingdom of Saudi Arabia, regarding an attack on Iran. The Saudi government denies this. The alleged deal between the two countries involves Israel using Saudi airspace and the Arab kingdom providing mainly logistical support for the operation.
By Graham J Noble