According to Asia Times, the U.S. is adopting an Israeli policy platform that could scuttle the prospects of a nuke deal with Iran.
The Barack Obama administration's insistence that Iran discuss its ballistic missile program in the negotiations for a comprehensive nuclear agreement brings its position into line with that of Israel and senators who introduced legislation drafted by the pro-Israel lobby group AIPAC aimed at torpedoing the negotiations.
White House spokesman Jay Carney highlighted the new US demand in a statement Wednesday that the Iranians "have to deal with matters related to their ballistic missile program".
Carney cited United Nations Security Council resolution 1929, approved in 2010, which prohibited any activity related to ballistic missiles capable of delivering nuclear weapons, including missile launches. "So that's completely agreed by Iran in the Joint Plan of Action," he added.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif not only explicitly contradicted Carney's claim that Iran had agreed to discuss ballistic missiles but warned that a US demand for discussion of its missile program would violate a red line for Iran.
"Nothing except Iran's nuclear activities will be discussed in the talks with the [six powers known as the P5+1], and we have agreed on it," he said, according to Iran's IRNA.
The pushback by Zarif implies that the US position would seriously risk the breakdown of the negotiations if the Obama administration were to persist in making the demand.