Susan Rice, President Barack Obama’s National Security Adviser, told the Reuters news agency on Wednesday that Washington is interested in deepening its security cooperation with Israel following the nuclear deal reached with Iran this week.
"We will … be looking forward, if the Israelis are interested and willing, they haven't said so yet, to discuss with them how we might further deepen and strengthen our security and intelligence cooperation," she said.
"Secretary of Defense Ash Carter will be going out to Israel this weekend, and to Saudi Arabia, and he will be continuing our practical cooperation with both Israel and our partners in the Gulf," added Rice.
Washington and Jerusalem have locked horns on the deal, with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu decrying the accord as a "bitter mistake of historic proportions."
"In every area where it was supposed to prevent Iran attaining nuclear arms capability, there were huge compromises," he added. "I will refer later to the details of the agreement, but before that, I would like to say here and now – when you are willing to make an agreement at any cost, this is the result."
Netanyahu later made clear that Israel “is not bound by this deal with Iran, because Iran continues to seek our destruction. We will always defend ourselves."
Obama, however, defended the deal, saying earlier on Wednesday that while Netanyahu’s concerns over Israel’s security were legitimate, he has not presented a better alternative.
Saudi Arabia, Carter’s second stop on his trip to the region, has also expressed its concern about the terms of a nuclear deal with Iran. On Tuesday, after the deal was announced, Riyadh warned Tehran against abusing funds that will follow from the landmark deal it to incite turmoil in the region.
With regards to the deal itself, Rice told Reuters that if Tehran complied with the terms of the deal and sanctions were lifted in "many months," new oil flows from Iran would not hit the market all at once but were likely to reduce global oil prices at least for a period of time.
She also gave a strong indication that some of Iran's stockpile of enriched uranium would be shipped to Russia as a result of the historic deal, saying the United States would not be concerned by that.
"It can be shipped out to a third country, like Russia. That’s probably the most likely means … Russia has its own fissile material, it’s handled it appropriately, we’re not concerned about that," Rice told Reuters.
She dismissed concerns that Iran could hide nuclear material during the 24-day waiting period triggered under the pact if its signatories raise suspicions about military or other sites.
Rice said the deal obligated Iran to allow UN inspections of any suspicious sites if five of the eight signatories to the agreement demand it.