Israel’s Mossad intelligence agency distanced itself from a report that it opposes new American sanctions against Iran.
Bloomberg News reports that Mossad Director Tamir Pardo told U.S. representatives visiting Israel this week that applying sanctions on Iran now, when negotiations on the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program are ongoing, would be like “tossing a grenade into the process.”
The Mossad responded by issuing a rare press release, stating, “The head of the Mossad noted that in negotiating with Iran, it is essential to present both carrots and sticks and that the latter are currently lacking. The head of the Mossad noted further that in the absence of strong pressure, the Iranians will make no meaningful compromises.”
“Regarding the reported reference to ‘throwing a grenade,’ the head of the Mossad did not use this expression regarding the imposition of sanctions, which he believes to be the sticks necessary for reaching a good deal with Iran,” the statement said. “The head of the Mossad pointed out explicitly that the bad agreement taking shape with Iran is likely to lead to a regional arms race.”
The Bloomberg News report came after President Barack Obama’s vow to veto a new Iran sanctions bill during his Jan. 20 State of the Union address. Following the address, Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives John Boehner (R-Ohio) invited Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to address a joint session of Congress on the Iranian nuclear issue and radical Islam. While Netanyahu accepted the invitation, the White House said Boehner’s invitation was a breach of “protocol” because Obama was not contacted about the visit. But Boehner said Congress “can make this decision on its own” and that Obama “papered over” the Iranian threat during the State of the Union.