The Mossad intelligence agency has warned U.S. lawmakers that a new Iran sanctions bill in Congress would jeopardize the negotiations over the Islamic Republic's nuclear program, Bloomberg reported Wednesday. The warning went against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's stance on the matter.
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Several U.S. senators have been pushing to pass new sanctions on Iran as talks between the Islamic Republic and six world powers over its nuclear program drag on. But U.S. President Barack Obama warned on Tuesday he would veto any bills to that effect, saying that such legislation "will all but guarantee that diplomacy fails.
Defying Obama, House Speaker John Boehner announced on Wednesday that he has invited Netanyahu to stand before Congress and push for new sanctions Iran.
According to Bloomberg, Israeli intelligence agents have been briefing Obama administration officials and U.S. senators about their concerns, specifically with regard to a bill authored by Republican Mark Kirk and Democrat Robert Menendez. The proposed legislation would increase sanctions on Iran if a nuclear agreement isn't struck by June 30, or if Tehran fails to uphold its end of the deal.
Meanwhile, according to the report, Netanyahu has been supporting the Kirk-Mendez bill.
Secretary of State John Kerry on Wednesday quoted an unidentified Israeli intelligence official as saying that adding sanctions now "would be like throwing a grenade into the process." According to the report in Bloomberg, initial warning from Mossad officials was delivered last week to a Congressional delegation visiting Israel.
Republican Senator John Barrasso, who was on the delegation, told Bloomberg that different Israeli officials conveyed different messages to the group.
“We met with a number of government officials from many different parts of the government. There’s not a uniform view there,” Barrasso was quoted as saying.
The report also cited two U.S. officials as saying that Mossad agents told the Obama administration that legislation that could lead to future sanctions on Iran would cause the talks to collapse.