Senior Official on Netanyahu's Plane: Congress Must Be Made Aware of Iran Deal Concessions

'We know about details regarding the agreement with being put together with Iran, and we feel that Congress members are unaware of these details,' says senior Israeli official in the prime minister's entourage.

ברק רביד - צרובה
Barak Ravid
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Kerry, left, listens to  Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, as they walk in Geneva, Switzerland, Jan. 14, 2015.
Kerry, left, listens to Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, as they walk in Geneva, Switzerland, Jan. 14, 2015.Credit: AP
ברק רביד - צרובה
Barak Ravid

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu arrived on Sunday night in Washington D.C., where he is scheduled to deliver a speech before Congress on Tuesday. Speaking to reporters during an in-flight briefing, a senior official in the prime minister's entourage said Israel holds a significant amount of trustworthy information regarding the deal taking shape with Iran that points at concessions agreed to by the world powers, which run counter to Israel's interests.

Iran and the six world powers – the U.S., Russia, China, the U.K., France and Germany – are currently holding negotiations in an attempt to reach a framework agreement with Iran regarding its nuclear program by the end of March. The framework agreement will contain general guidelines for solving each of the contested issues. Technical details will be worked out ahead of a comprehensive deal by the 30th of June.

The senior official travelling on the prime minister's plane noted that Netanyahu had received the impression that members of Congress are not fully aware of the details of the deal being worked out. Netanyahu, the official said, is interested in using his speech to inform members of Congress of the information Israel holds in regards the deal, and seeks to help lawmakers there stop it from going ahead.

"We are knowledgable of many details from the agreement being put together, details that we feel Congress members are unaware of," he said. "According to the information we hold, the deal that is currently taking shape will leave Iran with the abilities to produce a nuclear weapon, if Khamenei were to make such a decision."

Netanyahu held a phone conversation with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Saturday night, before he boarded his flight to Washington. Kerry is scheduled to meet on Monday with Iranian Foreign Minister Muhammad Jawad Zarif in an attempt to bring about a breakthrough in the nuclear talks.

The official noted that Israel had clarified to the U.S. government that Netanyahu's speech before a joint session of Congress is not aimed against Obama. He noted that during a meeting held by National Security Advisor Yossi Cohen with his American counterpart Susan Rice in the White House ten days ago, Cohen made it clear Netanyahu was not attempting to harm relations with the U.S., but rather only to warn against what was being considered a bad and dangerous deal.

"We are in favor of a good deal, one that will relieve Iran of its nuclear abilities," said the senior official."It is untrue that Netanyahu is against any diplomatic deal with the Iranians. We want to warn Congress against far-flung concessions in the deal that is taking shape, since Congress in the last barrier before a bad deal."

Netanyahu visiting the Western Wall ahead of his flight to the U.S., February 28, 2015.Credit: AP

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