U.S. officials suspect Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu authorized leaking details of U.S. nuclear negotiations with Iran to Israeli journalists, according to The Washington Post’s David Ignatius.
Concerns that Israeli officials had leaked key details about those negotiations, including that the U.S. offered to let Iran enrich uranium with “6,500 or more centrifuges as part of a final deal,” has prompted the U.S. to limit the amount of sensitive information it exchanges with Israel about the Iran nuclear negotiations, Ignatius reported.
White House spokesman Alistair Baskey, Ignatius noted, denied a report on Sunday by Israel’s Channel 2 news that the Obama administration had completely cut communications with Israel on the Iranian talks.
White House officials suggested that those reports were actually misleading, as centrifuge numbers in the negotiations are part of a larger package that also includes Iran’s nuclear stockpile and what type of centrifuges Iran would be allowed to operate, according to Ignatius.
The origins of the reported latest leak comes from a phone call, around Jan. 12, between Obama and Netanyahu, Ignatius wrote. In that call, Obama asked the Israeli prime minister to wait “several more months” so U.S. officials could see if Iran could agree to a nuclear deal that would keep Iran from building a bomb for more than a year. Netanyahu reportedly said one year wasn’t enough time and insisted that Iran shouldn’t be allowed uranium enrichment or centrifuges.
U.S.-Israeli negotiations have already been a trending topic in the news because of Netanyahu’s upcoming speech to Congress on March 3, ahead of the Israeli elections. In an unprecedented move, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) invited Netanyahu on Jan. 21 to address Congress without consulting the White House.