Iran Diplomacy Hinges on Obama-Israel Battle for Congressional Support

Netanyahu Focused on Keeping Congress From Easing Sanctions

The Obama Administration has had many high profile rifts with Israel’s Netanyahu government, and the latest, centering on Israel’s opposition to diplomacy with Iran, looks to be an ugly, protracted battle.

Though Israel isn’t directly involved in the negotiations with Iran, their influence within the US Congress allows them to be a major obstacle to any deal, and with senators repeatedly pledging to defy the administration, citing Israel’s interests, it seems they intend to remain one.

So while negotiation continues between the P5+1 and Iran, the real battle for a deal is occurring in the halls of the US Congress, with the Obama Administration sending officials to brief key committees on the details of Iran’s proposal in hopes of at least convincing them not to sabotage the talks by imposing new sanctions at an inopportune moment.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, meanwhile, is continuing his daily speaking engagements condemning diplomacy with Iran, insisting that more sanctions and more threats to attack are vital to show Iran they mean business. With Iran’s own hardliners loudly arguing the US “can’t be trusted” to negotiate reasonably, Netanyahu’s efforts seem to be bolstering them at the expense of the reformist government.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of