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Top Obama adviser: Israel PM's visit "destructive"

The Obama administration is fiercely guarding against what some see as Israeli attempts to sabotage a deal with Iran
Obama administration calls Netanyahu's upcoming Congress address "destructive" 02:32

There's mounting frustration in the White House over Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's visit next week to Washington.

In January, Netanyahu was invited to address Congress by House Speaker John Boehner, but on Tuesday he declined Senate Democrats' request to meet privately. Tuesday night on "Charlie Rose," National Security Adviser Susan Rice called his visit "destructive."

"The relationship between Israel as a country and the United States as a country has always been bipartisan and we've been fortunate that politics have not been injected into that relationship," Rice said. "What has happened over the last several weeks by virtue of the invitation that was issued by the Speaker and the acceptance of it by Prime Minister Netanyahu, two weeks in advance of his election, is that on both sides there has now be injected a degree of partisanship, which is not only unfortunate, I think it's destructive of the fabric of the relationship."

Rising tensions between U.S., Israel ahead of Benjamin Netanyahu visit 05:09

Secretary of State John Kerry said he will not attend Netanyahu's speech to Congress and instead will be in Switzerland negotiating a nuclear deal with Iran.

Critics of the negotiations say a final deal could allow Iran to build material for a nuclear bomb within ten years.

But with just five weeks until a self-imposed March deadline for negotiators to agree a framework for that deal, ‎the Obama Administration is fiercely guarding against what some see as Israeli attempts to sabotage the talks, reports CBS News correspondent Margaret Brennan.

Boehner clashes with Obama over Iran, Israel 02:17

During a hearing Tuesday, Kerry said was making progress on a deal to halt Iran's nuclear program for at least a decade, and he implored Congress not to judge the agreement until it is complete.

Next week he'll meet again with Iran's top nuclear negotiator at the very same time that Netanyahu will be personally lobbying Congress to slap more sanctions on Iran. New sanctions would likely scuttle the negotiations.

In what Israel views as a poor deal for all parties involved apart from Iran, the agreement being hashed out in Geneva would curtail Iran's enrichment program for at least the next decade, but would stop short of dismantling its existing nuclear program.

Instead, diplomats say it will dramatically slow down Iran's ability to make nuclear fuel for the next ten years and give the world advanced notice if Tehran decides to "break out" and try to build a bomb.

Kerry is ‎sure to face more tough questions Wednesday on Capitol Hill‎, where lawmakers are pressing for details on the sensitive negotiations.

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