White House: Israel ‘cherry-picking’ intel that distorts Iran talks

The White House is accusing Israel of “cherry-picking” information that distorts the U.S. position in nuclear talks with Iran.

“There’s no question that some of the things that the Israelis have said in characterizing our negotiating position have not been accurate. There’s no question about that,” White House press secretary Josh Earnest said during a press briefing on Wednesday.

{mosads}”We’ve also been very clear about the fact that the United States is not going to be in a position of negotiating this agreement in public, particularly when we see that there is a continued practice of cherry-picking specific pieces of information and using them out of context to distort the negotiating position of the United States.”

The White House spokesman said those involved in the talks are obligated to act in “good faith.”

“And that means giving negotiators the room and the space to negotiate,” Earnest said.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his government have long expressed alarm over the talks that seek to dismantle Iran’s illicit nuclear effort in exchange for relief from economic sanctions.

Netanyahu is expected to lobby against the potential deal, when he visits Washington in the coming weeks to address Congress. That invitation from Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) without the knowledge of President Obama has sparked a partisan fight, with many Democrats saying they will skip the speech.

Netanyahu has warned that a nuclear-armed Iran would be an existential threat to Israel.

The ongoing nuclear talks are between Iran and the P5+1 group, including the U.S., Russia, China, the United Kingdom, France and Germany. The U.S. has kept Israel, a close ally, informed on developments.

Earnest pushed back against reports that the administration was cutting the Israelis out of the loop on the negotiations.

“You could arguably make the case that there’s no country that is not participating in the negotiations that has greater insight into what’s going on at that negotiating table,” said Earnest of Israel.

He added that no nation “has a clearer stake in the outcome of these negotiations.”

“The United States has a clear stake in this outcome, but so does Israel,” said Earnest. “And that’s why we’re going to continue to consult with them about these talks.”

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