Israel Hopes To Undermine Iran Nuclear Thaw

Benjamin Netanyahu Pushes New Demands for Pact

getty images

By Reuters

Published December 22, 2013.
  • Print
  • Share Share
  • Single Page

By ramping up his demands of any final nuclear deal between Iran and world powers, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appears determined to stem the tide of international diplomacy which has turned against him in recent weeks.

Netanyahu was stung by an interim agreement last month for Tehran to curb its nuclear programme in return for a limited easing of sanctions, calling it a historic mistake.

His reaction has been to call for the dismantling of Iran’s nuclear projects, as opposed to their containment, and a halt to its development of ballistic missiles, an issue not addressed in the interim accord signed in Geneva on Nov. 24.

Taking even wider aim, Netanyahu said negotiators should demand a change to Iran’s “genocidal policy” toward Israel, manifested through its supply of thousands of missiles to Palestinian and Lebanese militants, and its calls for the Jewish state’s destruction.

The wish list has received a cool reception in Washington, will be given short shrift by Iran and was described as “crazy” by a senior Western diplomat. But experts believe the Israeli leader wants to put pressure on President Barack Obama and prevent U.S.-Iranian ties from thawing too far, too fast.

One way to do that would be to send a message to Israel’s supporters on Capitol Hill. The Senate has already sparred with Obama over whether new sanctions against Iran should be prepared.

A former Netanyahu adviser, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said U.S. legislators were Netanyahu’s target audience.

“It’s one thing for Congress to hold off on imposing sanctions, quite another for it to cancel sanctions under a final deal with Iran. Netanyahu wants to help set the tone in Congress and he doesn’t mind if Obama notices.”

There is a growing sense in Washington that Netanyahu has accepted it is unlikely he can derail the negotiations, so he may have reverted to spoiling tactics, however unpopular they may be in Obama’s administration.

“I can’t believe the Americans are happy about (Netanyahu) sounding off the way he is at this critical point in time,” said one Israeli official, who has direct knowledge of recent White House consultations between U.S. and Israeli experts on Iran.


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!
  • Is pot kosher for Passover. The rabbis say no, especially for Ashkenazi Jews. And it doesn't matter if its the unofficial Pot Day of April 20.
  • A Ukrainian rabbi says he thinks the leaflets ordering Jews in restive Donetsk to 'register' were a hoax. But the disturbing story still won't die.
  • Some snacks to help you get through the second half of Passover.
  • You wouldn't think that a Soviet-Jewish immigrant would find much in common with Gabriel Garcia Marquez. But the famed novelist once helped one man find his first love. http://jd.fo/f3JiS
  • Can you relate?
  • The Forverts' "Bintel Brief" advice column ran for more than 65 years. Now it's getting a second life — as a cartoon.
  • Half of this Hillel's members believe Jesus was the Messiah.
  • Vinyl isn't just for hipsters and hippies. Israeli photographer Eilan Paz documents the most astonishing record collections from around the world:http://jd.fo/g3IyM
  • Could Spider-Man be Jewish? Andrew Garfield thinks so.
  • Most tasteless video ever? A new video shows Jesus Christ dying at Auschwitz.
  • "It’s the smell that hits me first — musty, almost sweet, emanating from the green felt that cradles each piece of silver cutlery in its own place." Only one week left to submit! Tell us the story of your family's Jewish heirloom.
  • Mazel tov to Chelsea Clinton and Marc Mezvinsky!
  • If it's true, it's pretty terrifying news.
  • “My mom went to cook at the White House and all I got was this tiny piece of leftover raspberry ganache."
  • 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.