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US, Israel divisions on Iran spill into open

Israel is worried that the Americans are heading for an interim agreement with Iran that will wipe away the sanctions.
US President Joe Biden meets with Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett in the Oval Office of the White House, Washington, Aug. 27, 2021.

A week before the resumption of the Nov. 29 Vienna talks between Iran and world powers on a return to their nuclear agreement, a significant deterioration has emerged in one of the most intriguing and sensitive arenas of this ongoing saga — not between the United States and Iran but rather between the United States and Israel. In Israeli slang, this development would be called “shooting inside the tank,” in other words, instead of shooting at the enemy, the allies are targeting each other as they prepare to storm the other side’s forces.

It began behind closed doors with veiled hints and exaggerated politeness, but went on to trickle down and out into the public domain. Over the past week, Israel and the United States appear to be waging a public fist fight in the media. Right now, the skirmish is confined to snide remarks, exchanges of irate messages and signals of mutual dissatisfaction. Neither side wants an escalation. Israel does not have any other strategic ally while the Biden administration — despite being conciliatory toward Iran — views Israel as a strategic asset and does not intend or want to fight it.

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