While Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has been urging the United States to continue to strengthen sanctions against Iran over its nuclear program, the Mossad is of a different opinion, a report on Bloomberg News said Thursday.
The report said that Mossad officials advised US senators who were visiting Israel recently to hold off on further Iran sanctions, saying that they would hamper, not help, efforts to persuade Iran to give up or allow full international supervision of its nuclear program.
At issue is a new bill by Democratic Senator Robert Menendez and Republican Senator Mark Kirk to impose new sanctions on Iran if a nuclear deal is not reached by March, a timetable that has already been extended past the original November deadline.
Netanyahu has openly supported the bill, but according to Bloomberg, the Mossad advised senators to reject it, saying it would do more harm than good.
Among the senators who were privy to the Mossad briefing were Bob Corker, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, along with fellow Republican Senators Lindsay Graham, John Barrasso, and John McCain, and Democratic Senators Joe Donnelly and Tim Kaine.
Bloomberg quoted Barrasso as saying that the delegation “met with a number of government officials from many different parts of the government. There’s not a uniform view there.”
Obama in his State of the Union address Tuesday threatened to veto the bill ahead of a Senate hearing.
"Iran needs to know that there will be consequences for failure – and that consequence will be additional sanctions," Menendez said in response Wednesday.
"Up until now, Iran has not been motivated to make tough decisions. I hope that there will be an agreement in March, but I also believe we need to make clear that there are consequences to no-deal – and that means being prepared to act.''