Israeli delegation to visit US ahead of Iran n-deal deadline

Jerusalem, (IANS) An Israeli delegation will head to WashingtonD.C. next week in a last-minute attempt to influence the inking of a nuclear deal with Iran, the Ha’aretz daily reported on Thursday.

Israeli National Security Advisor Yossi Cohen will head the delegation, the daily reported, quoting anonymous Israeli officials. The delegation will include members of the National Security Council, representatives from the Israeli foreign ministry and the defence ministry.

Cohen is expected to meet his counterpart, White House National Security Advisor Susan Rice, as well as members of the negotiations team with Iran, to try to influence the details of the deals in accordance with Israel’s interests.

An Israeli official told the daily that the delegation aimed to discuss the technicalities of the upcoming agreement, and try to suggest improvement on several clauses.

The daily said Israeli officials have also held talks in recent weeks with European countries, as Cohen visited France and Britain recently.

With the US administration seeking to calm Israel ahead of the final agreement, Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) chief John Brennan made a secret visit to Israel last week, in order to discuss the nuclear talks with Israeli officials, according to Xinhua news agency.

The US Joint Chiefs of Staff Martin Dempsey also paid a visit to Israel this week, saying that the US would continue its intense cooperation with Israel in those fields.

In early April, delegates of the P5+1 group countries — the US, Britain, Russia, China, France plus Germany — announced reaching a framework agreement with Iran over the latter’s nuclear programme, adding that a final deal would be inked by June 30.

In contrast to the views of US President Barack Obama, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, a known hardliner on Iran, reiterated the upcoming deal was not good and would not stop Iran from achieving a nuclear bomb.

Netanyahu had repeatedly stated that Iran was Israel’s biggest threat as Iranian officials declared their intention to annihilate Israel. Iran, on its part, claims its nuclear programme is aimed for peaceful purposes.

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