Report: Trump aides hired Israeli spy firm to discredit Iran nuclear deal

"The idea was that people acting for Trump would discredit those who were pivotal in selling the deal, making it easier to pull out of it.”

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May 6, 2018 11:30
1 minute read.
Report: Trump aides hired Israeli spy firm to discredit Iran nuclear deal

US President Donald Trump walks to the Oval Office of the White House upon his return in Washington from Pittsburgh, US, January 18, 2018. (photo credit: REUTERS/YURI GRIPAS)

US President Donald Trump's aides hired an Israeli private intelligence agency in order to stage a "dirty ops" campaign against Former President Barack Obama administration officials involved in negotiating the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, British newspaper The Observer reported Saturday night.

Aiming to discredit the deal, the report accuses Trump's aides of having contacted the Israeli agency in May of 2017 to "get dirt" on Ben Rhodes, one of Obama's major national security advisors, and Colin Kahl, deputy assistant to Obama.

The Observer quoted an anonymous source involved in the campaign to discredit the nuclear deal as saying, "The idea was that people acting for Trump would discredit those who were pivotal in selling the deal, making it easier to pull out of it.”

The Israeli intelligence agency was hired to look into the political as well as the personal lives of those involved, specifically personal relationships with Iran-friendly lobbyists and whether they had drawn any personal benefits from the deal, the report states.

While sources have confirmed that there was an initial plan which was shared with private investigators, it is unclear whether such a plan was actually carried out and how many individuals were targeted.

Despite calls from UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres as well as the major powers involved in the deal to maintain the nuclear deal, White House officials said last Wednesday that the US president had all but decided to withdraw from the 2015 Iran nuclear accord.

A presentation by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu last Monday revealing evidence of Tehran's past nuclear arms program provided more reasons for to Trump to withdraw, even though UN inspectors said Iran had complied with the terms of the deal.

The pact between Iran and six major powers - Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the United States - was among former US president Barack Obama's signature foreign policies but has been described by Trump as "one of the worst deals I have ever witnessed."

Trump must decide by May 12 whether to renew "waivers" suspending some of the US sanctions on Iran.

Reuters contributed to this report.


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