Report: Israel, Gulf States in Secret Talks over Iran
Israel is negotiating an unlikely diplomatic alliance with several Gulf and Arab states, including Saudi Arabia, to deal with Iran's nuclear program, Channel 2 has reported.
High-profile Israeli and Gulf diplomats held a series of meetings overseen by Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu in the weeks leading to his speech to the UN General Assembly, according to the report.
Channel 2 said a "high ranking official" even came secretly to Israel to address growing concerns on Tehran's nuclear program, following US President Barack Obama's decision to open a dialogue with his Iranian counterpart Hassan Rouhani.
If true, the contacts reflect a growing conviction in the Middle East that the United States does not want, or is unable to summon the political courage, to seriously threaten a military attack on Iran. Without a credible threat of this nature, the nations believe, diplomatic attempts to stop Iran's nuclear program cannot succeed either.
Netanyahu may have been hinting at these contacts last week at the UN, when he said, "The dangers of a nuclear-armed Iran and the emergence of other threats in our region have led many of our Arab neighbors to recognize, finally recognize, that Israel is not their enemy."
"And this affords us the opportunity to overcome the historic animosities and build new relationships, new friendships, new hopes.
"Israel welcomes engagement with the wider Arab world. We hope that our common interests and common challenges will help us forge a more peaceful future," Netanyahu added.
The rise of sectarian tensions between Sunni and Shiite Muslims across the Middle East has worsened relations between Iran and Saudi Arabia.