Israeli PM had ‘sharp exchange’ with US Ambassador over Iran
September 7, 2012 3 Comments
By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
A United States Congressman, who chairs the US House of Representatives Intelligence Committee, says he witnessed a “sharp exchange” between the Israeli Prime Minister and the American Ambassador to Israel, over the Iranian nuclear program. Earlier this week we reported that Representative Mike Rogers (R-MI), who visited Israel in an official capacity last week, said that he did not believe Israel would attack Iran before the US Presidential elections in November. But in a radio interview with the Detroit-based WJR station on Thursday, Rogers said he thought Israeli leaders were “at wits’ end” over what he described as indecisiveness by the Barack Obama administration in responding to the Iranian nuclear program. The Republican politician said that the meeting he attended at the Israeli Prime Minister’s office was supposed to be a “discussion on intelligence and technical issues”. But it quickly “spun out of control”, he said, when the Israeli leader allegedly criticized the US Ambassador to the country, Dan Shapiro, over the US government’s perceived unwillingness to go beyond imposing diplomatic sanctions on Iran. Rogers described the situation as “a very tense […], very sharp exchange” between the two men, which revealed “elevated concerns on behalf of the Israelis” about the unfolding Iranian nuclear stalemate. Responding to a question from the interviewer, Rogers added that he did not think he had ever witnessed “such a high-level confrontation” between a representative of the American government and a foreign official. It should be noted that, last week, following the meeting between Netanyahu and Shapiro, Israeli news media claimed that a “showdown” had taken place, which had turned into an undiplomatic “shouting match”. But the US Ambassador briefed journalists the next day, dismissing media reports of a confrontation as “silly”, and insisting that public accounts of his meeting with the Israeli Prime Minister “did not reflect what actually occurred in the meeting”. He described the latter as “entirely friendly and professional”. Representative Rogers is a vocal proponent of ‘tough action’ against the Iranian government’s nuclear program and would appear to be siding with the Israelis on this one. Nevertheless, if his account of the Netanyahu-Shapiro confrontation is accurate, it clearly contradicts assurances by the Obama administration that Washington and Tel Aviv see eye-to-eye on the Iranian nuclear issue.