U.S. Ambassador Plays Down Diplomatic Rift Between U.S. and Israel

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U.S. Ambassador Dan Shapiro played down the widely reported differences between Israel and the United States over a proposed deal aimed at curbing Iran' nuclear program  in an interview with Channel 2 on Monday.

Though Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has criticized the package of sanction relief measures offered Iran in the Geneva talks as a "bad deal," Shapiro said the United States and Israel are in close coordination.

Shapiro pointed to Iran's reticence to sign the proposed agreement without going home for further consultation as evidence the P5+1 world powers did not make too many concessions to the Islamic Republic.

"To me that’s a sign that the agreement that was proposed was very tough, very difficult for Iran to say yes to because indeed it will require Iran to take very significant steps on freezing its program and get very, very limited relief from any sanctions," he said to Channel 2. "The major sanctions on oil exports, on banking institutions would remain in place."

Shapiro likewise contradicted the Channel 2 reporter's impression of an "ongoing personal clash" between Netanyahu and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, especially in the wake of Kerry's visit to Israel to promote the peace talks with the Palestinians.

"Well, there’s certainly no personal clash," he said. "Secretary Kerry and Prime Minister Netanyahu have been friends for decades... they’ve worked well together before are continuing to work well together, even though there will be moments when we may disagree on certain details we never disagree on the big strategic goal." 

U.S. Ambassador Dan Shapiro, President Peres and Prime Minister Netanyahu at July 4 embassy partyCredit: Moti Milrod

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