A report out from NBC News quotes anonymous U.S. government officials linking Israeli intelligence to a State Department designated Iranian terrorist group. The officials claim that the assassinations of Iranian nuclear scientists in recent years have been made possible by Israel's relationship with the People's Mujahedin of Iran, as the group has provided access to information the Mossad would not have otherwise been able to attain.
NBC's sources within the U.S. government have made clear that despite the Obama administration's supposed knowledge of these activities, there is no involvement by American personnel in these operations.
These statements come on the heels of a more publicized dispute between Washington and Jerusalem as to the "point of no return". This refers to the time when Iran's nuclear facilities reach a phase in which they are no longer vulnerable to a military strike.
"It appears to be an issue of timeline and redlines. Israel likely believes that the redline or Iranian point of no return in its nuclear development may be sooner than the American perception," Matthew Brodsky of the Jewish Policy Center in Washington told The Algemeiner.
On Wednesday, The New York Times published an article quoting an Obama administration official who said that Washington believes there are ways to stop Iran from completing it's development of a nuclear weapon, even if facilities reach a point where military operations would have no effect. This view is not shared by Israeli counterparts.
"There are many other options," said the American official who spoke with the paper.
The statements made to NBC news regarding Israel's involvement with an Iranian terrorist group may have been an attempt by Washington to counter Israeli statements that Iran's development of a nuclear bomb is fast becoming immune from advancement, and therefore diplomacy is nearing it's endgame, according to Brodsky.
"It could be that the U.S. is publicly outing Israel in regards to its saber-rattling because the Obama administration feels that what it says behind the scenes isn't working. U.S. officials may want Israel to cool it down while sending Iran the message that the door to negotiations remains open and free from threats." Brodsky said. "The perception from the White House may well be that Israel's public position presents an obstacle to diplomatic engagement with Iran."
Another possibility, Brodsky says, is that President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu both know military intervention will be necessary, but the public threats of carrying them out should come from Israel.
"There's also a third scenario," he explained. "It may well be that both American and Israeli interests are served by having Israel make the threats, while the U.S. makes the case that the window for a diplomatic solution is closing. The bottom line in any scenario will remain the difference in perception of Iran's nuclear point of no return as seen from Washington and Jerusalem. But there can be no doubt that situation with Iran is reaching a critical period."