The U.S. ambassador to Israel said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu won’t discuss new security arrangements to prepare his nation for the implementation of the Iran nuclear accord he opposes.
The conflict between Netanyahu and President Barack Obama over the deal has strained relations between the close allies. Israel and many of its U.S. supporters have been lobbying against the agreement, saying it doesn’t provide enough safeguards against bomb-building.
“Maybe we can’t convince each other, but we can prepare together for the day after,” Ambassador Dan Shapiro told Israel Radio. “We have proposed to the prime minister that we now begin official discussions on how to deepen security cooperation to deal with the consequences of the Iran agreement,” he said. “Until now, he hasn’t been ready to do that.”
Netanyahu’s office wouldn’t respond to Shapiro’s remarks. Foreign Ministry Director-General Dore Gold told Army Radio that Israel is first warning about the implications of the agreement, and will move to the next stage once circumstances are clear.
Iran denies it aspires to build nuclear weapons.
The U.S. has tried to reassure Israel and some Arab states concerned about Iran’s ambitions by offering to sell them more than $6 billion in military hardware. In May, it approved a $1.9 billion arms sale to Israel, including “bunker-buster” bombers, that analysts said probably was meant to ease objections to the nuclear agreement.
Gulf Arab monarchies publicly backed the pact during a regional visit this month by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry.
Zionist Union party leader and opposition head Isaac Herzog said Sunday that while he agrees with the government’s objections to the accord, he objects to Netanyahu’s public campaign against it.
“The relationship between our nations is key to Israel’s national security and I think arguments between us and the U.S. are arguments within the family,” Herzog told a group of 22 Democratic members of the House of Representatives visiting Jerusalem. “We should set rules on how to manage and control this argument, and not cross lines.”