US voices concern that 'Israel' is leaking info on Iran talks: Axios
A senior American source reveals that there was a perception in the White House that "Israel" was responsible for leaking information about indirect US-Iran talks.
In a heated phone conversation with his Israeli counterpart last week, White House National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan voiced worry that "Israel" is leaking classified information to the media regarding indirect negotiations between the United States and Iran, Axios reported, citing three American and Israeli officials.
Republicans in Congress have criticized recent press reports from several media outlets about the indirect talks between Washington and Tehran, which the Biden administration has not publicly acknowledged. They are demanding that the administration seek congressional review for any agreement with Iran.
The big picture
Tzachi Hanegbi, the Israeli occupation's "National Security" Advisor, and Ron Dermer, "Israel's" Minister for Strategic Affairs, met with Sullivan at the White House in early June and received thorough briefings on the indirect discussions between the US and Iran, Axios reported citing two Israeli sources.
The majority of news on the negotiations came to the public in June, and Israeli occupation Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu informed Israeli MKs during a private Knesset committee that the United States was drafting a "mini-agreement" with Iran.
According to a senior Israeli official, Sullivan expressed during last week's call with Hanegbi his anger with Netanyahu's statements.
Hanegbi told Sullivan that Netanyahu must discuss the meetings with Israeli MKs since the opposition is currently bashing him, Axios reported, citing an Israeli source.
However, the Israeli advisor emphasized that Netanyahu is trying to keep his public comments about the matter to a minimum, the Israeli source added.
Hanegbi also underscored to Sullivan that he gave multiple interviews in recent weeks in which he stressed that collaboration with the Biden administration on Iran is better than ever under the direction of Netanyahu.
On June 19, Netanyahu reiterated that "Israel" does not accept any nuclear agreement with Iran, including one that is narrow and provisional in scope, noting that "Tel Aviv" clarified this stance to its "American friends".
The US official added as reported by Axios that Sullivan claimed during the call that most of the leaked information reported by media outlets was false and did not accurately reflect what was being discussed in the indirect talks with Iran. What specifically the Biden administration considers to be false in the reports is unknown.
According to a senior American source, there was a perception in the White House that "Israel" was responsible for the leaks, Axios reported.
US and Israeli officials revealed that Sullivan's complaints about Israeli leaks were just one of many, the report added.
Additionally, Sullivan voiced serious worry over the Israeli occupation government's illegal settlement expansion in the occupied West Bank and violent attacks by Israeli settlers against Palestinian people, a senior Israeli official said as cited by Axios.
It is noteworthy that under international law, all Israeli settlements are illegal, and the United Nations Security Council has condemned Israeli settlement activities in the occupied territories in several resolutions.