Iranian foreign minister accuses Netanyahu of peddling lies over Iran’s nuclear activities.
The US “won’t take any options off the table, including military action” to ensure that Iran does not develop nuclear weapons, President Barack Obama has told Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Russia Today reports. Obama met with Netanyahu at the White House Oval Office on Monday, just three days after his historic phone conference with new Iranian President Hassan Rouhani. The call between the US and Iranian Presidents was the first high-level contact between Washington and Tehran in three decades. The phone call fueled hope for a breakthrough in a years-long standoff between the West and Iran over Tehran’s nuclear program. On Friday, following the phone conversation, Obama said that Rouhani indicated that “Iran will never develop nuclear weapons,” hailing the sentiment as a major step forward in relations between the two countries.
On Monday, seeking to ease Israeli concerns about Washington’s engagement with Tehran, Obama said that Iran must prove its words with actions. According to Obama, because of “extraordinary sanctions” put in place against Tehran over the past several years, the Iranians are now prepared to negotiate. He underlined that both the US and Israel agree that “it is imperative” that Iran does not obtain nuclear weapons. Washington will be in consultation with Israel and other allies in the region during the negotiation process, and hopes that the issue can be resolved through diplomatic means. However, Obama stated that “we take no options off the table, including military options.” According to Netanyahu, “Iran is committed to Israel’s destruction.” Israel says the “ultimate test of a future agreement with Iran” is that Tehran fully dismantles its military nuclear program.
The Israeli Prime Minister praised Washington’s efforts in trying to settle the thorny issue, and urged the US not to lift economic sanctions against Iran.
Israel believes sanctions should be tightened if Iran continues to advance its nuclear program during negotiations. Ahead of his visit to the US, Netanyahu said he intended to “tell the truth in the face of the sweet talk and charm offensive of Iran.”
Meanwhile, Iranian foreign minister has accused Israeli prime minister of lying about Iran’s nuclear ambitions by dismissing Tehran’s statements as “charm offensive”. “We have seen nothing from Netanyahu but lies and actions to deceive and scare, and international public opinion will not let these lies go unanswered,” Mohammad Javad Zarif said in an interview with Iranian television broadcast on Tuesday. Zarif was speaking from the United Nations, where Netanyahu was set to address the General Assembly later on Tuesday, the same forum where last year he used a cartoon bomb as a prop to underline how close he believed Iran was to producing a nuclear warhead. “For 22 years, the Zionist regime has been lying by repeating endlessly that Iran will have the atomic bomb in six months,” Zarif said. “After all these years, the world must understand the reality of these lies and not allow them to be repeated.”