US Officials Brief Israel on Looming Iran Deal

US confident deal is close, as Israeli officials begin looking ahead to meeting between Netanyahu and Obama sometime over the summer.

Nitsan Keidar,

Netanyahu, Obama in the Oval Office
Netanyahu, Obama in the Oval Office
Flash 90

Israeli officials were briefed over the weekend by a US team regarding developments in negotiations between Iran and the P5+1 world powers, a senior diplomatic source told Arutz Sheva. 

According to the source, the head of the Israeli team being updated was National Security Adviser Yossi Cohen, while United States Under Secretary of State, Wendy Sherman, led the briefing. 

Sherman, the leading US representative in talks with Iran, last updated the Israelis on the looming deal a few weeks ago. 

At the briefing, the US clarified that while significant gaps exist between Iran and world powers, there is still a great willingness, especially on the part of the West, to reach a compromise by Monday - the most recent deadline for the end of talks.  

The senior official noted the US team expressed optimism about the talks, and did not mention US President Barack Obama's recent assertion that the chances of a nuclear agreement with Iran are less than 50-50."

Israeli diplomatic officials agreed with the US team that the chances of an agreement not being signed are very low, and as such have already begun preparations for Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to visit the US. 

Obama apparently intends to invite Netanyahu to Washington immediately after concluding talks with Iran, marking the Prime Minister's first official visit to the US since being reelected in March. 

The US administration has expressed its hope for Netanyahu to visit in mid-August, along with Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon (Likud).

In addition to a private meeting with Netanyahu, Obama will also seek a discussion with US Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter, Netanyahu and Ya'alon to sum up a compensation package to Israel, and present it to Congress before a vote on the Iran agreement.