Saudi Arabia Allegedly Told Israel About Secret U.S.-Iran Negotiations

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Israel allegedly knew for months about secret, back channel communication between Iran and the U.S. that led to the the diplomatic deal agreed to Saturday night in Geneva.

Buzzfeed's Sheera Frenkel and Haaretz's Barak Ravid report Israeli officials learned about long before Netanyahu's White House meeting. Haarets says Israel learned about the secret meetings "through intelligence" at the beginning of the summer. Buzzfeed, per one Israeli source, fingers Saudi Arabia as the source who told Israel about the meetings. How Saudi Arabia knew is never explained. 

Learning of the meetings did not go over well. (Which, really, isn't all that shocking.) Israel was "furious... We felt like we were being stabbed in the back," one source told Buzzfeed.

Late Saturday night, moments after the deal was announcedthe Associated Press and Al-Monitor's Laura Rozen reported a secret channel of communication has existed between Iran and the U.S. since March, before Hassan Rohani was elected president. Representatives for the two countries met on multiple occasions to discuss possible diplomatic solutions. Literally everyone was kept in the dark about the secret backchannel until Obama spoke with Rouhani over the phone. 

Obama told Isreali prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu at a White House meeting on September 30. After that, the U.S. began informing allies about the communication. At the very least, they did the right thing and put Israel first. But Netanyahu already knew, and he was already peeved. 

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.