Israel Uneasy on Iran Ahead of Obama’s Visit

America's latest offer to Iran, reducing the country's enriched-uranium output in return for lesser sanctions, may produce some friction for Obama as he visits Israel for the first time next week as President.

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Shamil Zhumatov/ REUTERS

Top officials from the U.S., France, Germany, Britain, China, Russia and Iran take part in talks on Iran's nuclear program in Almaty, Kazakhstan, on Feb. 27, 2013

I recently wrote on Obama’s first-term progression on Iran, from engagement to saber rattling, as a walk-up to what will be a consequential year of diplomacy between Washington, Jerusalem and Tehran.

Today the Wall Street Journal’s Gerald Seib takes a closer look at what’s coming, with a particular eye to Obama’s Israel trip next week. At negotiations in Kazakhstan between Iran, the U.S. and other world powers last month, the U.S. offered to ease sanctions slightly and let Iran keep less than a bomb’s worth of highly enriched uranium for research purposes in exchange for freezing it’s enrichment operations at a hard-to-bomb facility at Fordo, and other confidence-building measures.

That offer, reports Seib, left Israel uneasy:

Israel, however, isn’t confident. It sees the latest proposal as a rollback from the world’s earlier and tougher positions, which called for shipping out of Iran almost all of its stockpile of even less-well-enriched uranium, and the shutdown rather than merely the suspension of production at the Fordo enrichment facility.

More talks are scheduled for later this month and for April. Watch for signs of friction over Iran when Obama is in Israel next week.