Mon Dec 16, 2013 1:41PM
National Security Adviser Susan Rice
National Security Adviser Susan Rice

The White House has confirmed that National Security Adviser Susan Rice met with her Israeli counterpart Yossi Cohen and his colleagues last week to discuss a recent interim deal reached between Iran and the six world powers.

The meetings centered in reiterating promises that Washington remains committed to Tel Aviv during the course of nuclear negotiations with Iran.

Cohen and his team were dispatched by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in an attempt to “shape” the nature of ongoing talks between Iran and the P5+1 – the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany.

Rice, along with her deputy, Tony Blinken, and senior officials from the departments of State and Treasury, met with Cohen on Thursday and Friday.

On Friday, the US Department of Treasury announced that it added 19 more companies and individuals to a blacklist for trying to evade sanctions against Iran – a move denounced by Tehran as “a violation of the spirit of the Geneva deal,” which required the US and other world powers not to impose any further sanctions at least until the six-month agreement expires.

But Secretary of State John Kerry supported the Treasury’s move arguing that it’s just a continuation of the existing sanctions.

Iran is already under UN, US, and EU sanctions over its nuclear energy program.

On Saturday, senior Iranian diplomat – and nuclear negotiator – Abbas Araqchi strongly criticized the new US sanctions measure, saying: “The Americans, since the Geneva deal, have been suffering from confusion and dichotomy. I think there are inconsistencies in the actions of the Department of State and the Department of Treasury in the US. They are going opposite ways.”

As nuclear negotiations go on, Israeli lobbyists and some members of the US Senate are trying to impose new economic sanctions on Tehran.

Officials from both sides have warned that further sanctions could jeopardize the historic Nov. 24 deal over Iran’s nuclear energy program.