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Israel spied on U.S.-Iran nuclear talks, report says

Kate Stanton

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March 24, 2015

The report says that Israel leaked the intelligence to U.S. lawmakers.

WASHINGTON, March 24 (UPI) -- A new report claims that Israel spied on nuclear talks between the Obama administration and Iran, then leaked details of the negotiations to U.S. lawmakers.

The Wall Street Journal reported Monday that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wanted to use the intelligence to lobby members of Congress against a potential nuclear weapons deal.

"It is one thing for the U.S. and Israel to spy on each other," a senior White House official told The Journal. "It is another thing for Israel to steal U.S. secrets and play them back to U.S. legislators to undermine U.S. diplomacy."

A senior official from Netanyahu's office has denied the report, calling it "utterly false."

"The state of Israel does not conduct espionage against the United States or Israel's other allies," the official said. "The false allegations are clearly intended to undermine the strong ties between the United States and Israel and the security and intelligence relationship we share."

The report comes at a time of heightened tensions between President Barack Obama and Netanyahu, who addressed a joint session of Congress -- at Republicans' request -- without a formal invitation from the White House.

In the March 3 address, Netanyahu criticized the administration's interest in nuclear talks with Iran.

"We've been told that no deal is better than a bad deal. Well, this is a bad deal. It's a very bad deal. We're better off without it," he said.

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