White House national security advisor Susan Rice, her deputies Ben Rhodes and Tony Blinken and Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman met with the leaders of four major American Jewish organizations on Tuesday afternoon in an effort to dissuade them from lobbying the Senate towards passing harsh new sanctions against Iran, just as bilateral negotiations have resumed between the two nations.
The White House meeting witnessed forceful exchanges between the two sides on the merits of the sanctions package, sources tell The Jerusalem Post.
The afternoon meeting lasted over an hour and was characterized as a "serious exchange" over strategy during this delicate diplomatic window.
One White House official called the meeting "constructive" and said no animus was expressed.
In recent days a number of leading Jewish groups, including AIPAC, the Jewish Council for Public Affairs and the Jewish Federations of North America, have reiterated support for advancing through Congress new and enhanced Iran sanctions, although the Obama administration has made clear publicly that it would prefer Congress put off dealing with the legislation until after the next round of talks in mid-November.
JTA contributed to this report.