US Undersecretary of State Wendy Sherman held a press briefing by phone with Israeli reporters on Thursday, where she tried to conduct damage control in the face of severe Israeli criticism over the deal reached on Iran's nuclear program on Tuesday.
According to Sherman, who led the American negotiating team in the talks, Israeli experts held a dialogue with American experts over the last year and thereby influenced significant parts of the deal, reports Haaretz.
The revelation is surprising given the many loopholes in the deal that experts warn may allow Iran to obtain a nuclear weapon. In one particularly troubling section, the deal stipulates that the West will train Iran to defend its nuclear program from sabotage – including potential Israeli sabotage of the program.
Sherman said that during the final push in Vienna to seal the nuclear deal, she spoke with Yossi Cohen, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's National Security Adviser, no less than three times.
A day after the deal on Wednesday night, she briefed Cohen and Minister Yuval Steinitz (Likud) – who is tasked with the Iran issue – about the deal via a video conference.
"We told them we believe it makes us all safer. It pushes Iran's breakout time to one year for at least 10 years," she said. "We were working to get a good deal and the right deal. We believe we got a very good deal. It cuts off all pathways to nuclear weapons. It insures sanctions will snapback if Iran violates the deal."
"We need to talk about this deal. It's important that they understand in Israel that this deal is very good for the security of Israel, very good for the security of the United States and the security of the entire world," claimed Sherman.
Despite her claim, it has been revealed that the deal ignores key covert nuclear installations in Iran, and likewise lifts various restrictions over the period of several years allowing Iran to wait and then produce a nuclear arsenal rapidly with advanced centrifuges.