Netanyahu Urges Obama to Maintain Iran Sanctions During White House Meeting

Accuses President Rouhani of Buying Time With Charm

Getty Images

By Reuters

Published September 30, 2013.
  • Print
  • Share Share

WASHINGTON - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu urged U.S. President Barack Obama on Monday to keep sanctions in place against Iran and to even tighten them if Tehran continues its nuclear advances during a coming round of negotiations with the West.

Seeking to ease Israeli concerns about U.S. diplomatic engagement with Iran, Obama said Tehran must prove its sincerity with actions, not just words, and vowed to keep all options on the table, including the possibility of a military response.

Netanyahu was hosted at the White House just three days after Obama and new Iranian President Hassan Rouhani spoke by telephone in the highest-level contact between the countries in more than three decades. The call fueled hopes for a resolution of Iran’s decade-old nuclear standoff with the West.

Signs of U.S.-Iranian rapprochement have rattled Israel, which accuses Iran of trying to buy time and ease international sanctions so it can pursue development of nuclear weapons. Iran denies it is working toward an atomic bomb.

“In fact, it is Israel’s firm belief that if Iran continues to advance its nuclear program during negotiations, the sanctions should be strengthened,” Netanyahu said as he sat side by side with Obama and praised the U.S. leader for his response so far to Iran’s outreach.

Obama said he was ready to test Rouhani’s overtures but would insist on “the highest level of verification” of Iran curbing its nuclear program before providing what he called “sanctions relief.” International sanctions have done serious damage to Iran’s economy, including its oil sector.

Even as Netanyahu called for a “credible military threat” to pressure Iran to comply, Obama made clear that the United States remained open to use of military force if diplomacy fails.

Israel has threatened unilateral strikes on Iran’s nuclear sites but appears unlikely to go ahead with such action any time soon as Washington, its chief ally, tests the diplomatic waters with Iran.

Though Obama and Netanyahu have had strained relations in the past, they appeared relatively comfortable with one another in their latest Oval Office encounter. Each followed the other’s words carefully as they spoke in turn and they occasionally exchanged smiles.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • "'What’s this, mommy?' she asked, while pulling at the purple sleeve to unwrap this mysterious little gift mom keeps hidden in the inside pocket of her bag. Oh boy, how do I answer?"
  • "I fear that we are witnessing the end of politics in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I see no possibility for resolution right now. I look into the future and see only a void." What do you think?
  • Not a gazillionaire? Take the "poor door."
  • "We will do what we must to protect our people. We have that right. We are not less deserving of life and quiet than anyone else. No more apologies."
  • "Woody Allen should have quit while he was ahead." Ezra Glinter's review of "Magic in the Moonlight": http://jd.fo/f4Q1Q
  • Jon Stewart responds to his critics: “Look, obviously there are many strong opinions on this. But just merely mentioning Israel or questioning in any way the effectiveness or humanity of Israel’s policies is not the same thing as being pro-Hamas.”
  • "My bat mitzvah party took place in our living room. There were only a few Jewish kids there, and only one from my Sunday school class. She sat in the corner, wearing the right clothes, asking her mom when they could go." The latest in our Promised Lands series — what state should we visit next?
  • Former Israeli National Security Advisor Yaakov Amidror: “A cease-fire will mean that anytime Hamas wants to fight it can. Occupation of Gaza will bring longer-term quiet, but the price will be very high.” What do you think?
  • Should couples sign a pre-pregnancy contract, outlining how caring for the infant will be equally divided between the two parties involved? Just think of it as a ketubah for expectant parents:
  • Many #Israelis can't make it to bomb shelters in time. One of them is Amos Oz.
  • According to Israeli professor Mordechai Kedar, “the only thing that can deter terrorists, like those who kidnapped the children and killed them, is the knowledge that their sister or their mother will be raped."
  • Why does ultra-Orthodox group Agudath Israel of America receive its largest donation from the majority owners of Walmart? Find out here: http://jd.fo/q4XfI
  • Woody Allen on the situation in #Gaza: It's “a terrible, tragic thing. Innocent lives are lost left and right, and it’s a horrible situation that eventually has to right itself.”
  • "Mark your calendars: It was on Sunday, July 20, that the momentum turned against Israel." J.J. Goldberg's latest analysis on Israel's ground operation in Gaza:
  • What do you think?
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.