Israel has decided to suspend talks with US officials over security aid until after the looming Iran nuclear deal is finalized, Walla! reported.
Following a joint meeting between senior officials of the Defense Ministry, Prime Minister’s Office and the Foreign Ministry, it was decided to freeze dialogue between both countries until the conclusion of talks between the Islamic Republic and P5+1 world powers.
Officials told the news site that the main reason for suspending talks was due mainly to increasing tensions between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government and the White House.
An anonymous senior defense official confirmed the decision and explained that freezing talks will allow Israel to formulate new requests for defense materials based on whether or not the deal is signed.
Based on the agreement signed between world powers and Iran, Israel will update its defense demands in order to maintain its security and defense superiority in the region.
Other Israeli defense officials have suggested though that Israel may decide to extend the freeze until early 2017, when a new US president is sworn into office.
Netanyahu and US President Barack Obama have publicly butted heads over each ones stance on Iran’s nuclear program. Netanyahu, a vocal advocate against the deal, has warned that the US and other world powers are only extending the breakout time of allowing Tehran to acquire a nuclear weapon.
Former Obama advisors were among a bipartisan group of 18 diplomats, experts and legislators who wrote an open letter to the president warning that the emerging nuclear deal does not address Israel’s security concerns.
The group stated that the deal “may fall short of meeting the administration’s own standard of a ‘good’ agreement” and that “the [current] agreement will not prevent Iran from having a nuclear weapons capability.”
“It will not require the dismantling of Iran’s nuclear enrichment infrastructure…It does not address Iran’s support for terrorist organizations (like Hezbollah and Hamas), its interventions in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, and Yemen (its ‘regional hegemony’), its ballistic missile arsenal, or its oppression of its own people,” the letter stated.
Signatories of the letter include David Petraus, former director of the CIA; Dennis Ross, former special assistant to the president who was responsible for Israeli-Palestinian negotiations and Iran policy during Obama’s first term; General James Cartwright, who was the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff from 2007-2011; Olli Heinonen, former deputy director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency; and Gary Samore, former arms control and weapons of mass destruction coordinator under Obama who now heads United Against a Nuclear Iran.