As the US prepares to start talks on an "end state" agreement with Iran over its nuclear program, US President Barack Obama has asked Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to "take a breather" from his vocal criticism of the interim deal signed in Geneva, journalist David Ignatius wrote in a column published in The Washington Post on Thursday.
Obama and Netanyahu spoke on the phone on Sunday, in a conversation meant to assuage the prime minister's concerns following the signing of the "first stage" deal between Tehran and the P5+1 countries.
After weeks of Israeli officials publicly condemning the deal, Netanyahu and Obama have agreed to send an Israeli delegation, headed by National Security Adviser Yossi Cohen, to Washington to discuss strategy for a permanent agree with the US administration, in a clear shift to backroom diplomacy.
Sunday’s accord is a six-month agreement with an option to extend, meant to limit the Iranian nuclear program as the P5+1 – the US, UK, Russia, China, France and Germany – try to hammer out a comprehensive accord with Iran. In return, Iran received some sanctions relief.
Israel is not the only country in the region seeking assurances on Iran.
Bahrain's Interior Minister Sheikh Rashed bin Abdullah al-Khalifa has asked that the P5+1 states "clarify to the leaders and people of the region that the agreement that has been reached serves to achieve regional security stability."
Addressing the start of a regular meeting of Gulf Arab interior ministers in Bahrain, he said Gulf Arab states wanted to be certain that the accord "would not be at the expense of the security of any member of the (Gulf Cooperation) Council".
"It is not a secret that we in Bahrain have felt [threats that] affect our security, with all foreign-related links to that."
Bahrain, which hosts the US Fifth Fleet as a strategic bulwark against Iran across the Gulf, has suffered frequent unrest since 2011 when its Shi'ite Muslim majority took to the streets demanding reforms and a bigger say in government.
The Sunni Muslim monarchy in Bahrain and in neighboring Saudi Arabia have regularly accused Shi'ite Iran of fomenting the unrest. The Islamic Republic denies such accusations.
US officials have said that the nuclear deal, to be the basis of a longer-term comprehensive settlement with Iran negotiated next year, will if fully implemented help make the chronically volatile Middle East a more stable, secure region.
Saudi Arabia and other Gulf Arab states, despite their mistrust of Iran, gave a qualified welcome to Tehran's interim deal with the world power