An Israeli television network reported Sunday night that Valerie Jarrett, senior adviser to President Barack Obama, has been holding secret talks with the head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization, Ali Akbar Salehi, and that the international negotiations underway in Geneva are merely a “facade” covering up a deal whose terms have already been decided.
The report on Israel’s Channel 10 quoted unnamed senior Israeli officials who said that the talks, which have reportedly been underway for a year, have been held in various Persian Gulf states.
Exactly one year ago, the Israeli newspaper Ynet reported that Jarrett was beginning to communicate behind the scenes with representatives of Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
Israeli government officials are reportedly angry that the Obama administration has reportedly not been keeping Israel abreast of the latest developments regarding talks with Iran over curbing the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program.
“…(T)he administration did not keep Israel fully informed on those talks, Channel 10 news reported, but Jerusalem nonetheless has a pretty clear picture of what has been going on in the secret channel,” the Times of Israel reported.
But according to the Israeli outlet Haaretz, White House National Security Council spokeswoman Bernadette Meehan said that the report about the deal was “absolutely, 100 percent false.”
The Times of Israel provided more information on the Hebrew report:
In the course of the talks, the report said, the Americans offered the Iranians a series of “confidence-building measures,” which underlined American readiness to conclude a deal and undercut sanctions pressure.
It was the deal discussed in these secret talks, the report said, that the Americans then brought to Geneva earlier this month, where it was largely adopted by the P5+1 nations — the US, Britain, France, Russia, China, plus Germany.[…]
According to Channel 10, the secret channel marginalized [Secretary of State John] Kerry, and was overseen by the president. The idea had been for Kerry merely to fly to Geneva, as he did last Friday, to sign a deal in which he had been a bit player.
The last round of talks in Geneva broke up without agreement after France reportedly objected to its terms, with French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius calling it “a sucker’s deal.” A new round of talks resumes Wednesday.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has repeatedly called the proposed deal “bad” and “dangerous.” The Israel Hayom new site characterized Israeli officials as being “vexed” by learning of the alleged Jarrett meetings.
TheBlaze cannot verify if the meetings did indeed take place. Some Middle East watchers have expressed skepticism via Twitter due to the report being based on unnamed Israeli sources.
Israeli sources also told Channel 10 that they believe an agreement with Iran is "closer than ever."
We discussed this story and all the day's news on our BlazeCast with Editor-in-Chief Scott Baker (@bakerlink):