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!
  • When is a legume not necessarily a legume? Philologos has the answer.
  • "Sometime in my childhood, I realized that the Exodus wasn’t as remote or as faceless as I thought it was, because I knew a former slave. His name was Hersh Nemes, and he was my grandfather." Share this moving Passover essay!
  • Getting ready for Seder? Chag Sameach! http://jd.fo/q3LO2
  • "We are not so far removed from the tragedies of the past, and as Jews sit down to the Seder meal, this event is a teachable moment of how the hatred of Jews-as-Other is still alive and well. It is not realistic to be complacent."
  • Aperitif Cocktail, Tequila Shot, Tom Collins or Vodka Soda — Which son do you relate to?
  • Elvis craved bacon on tour. Michael Jackson craved matzo ball soup. We've got the recipe.
  • This is the face of hatred.
  • What could be wrong with a bunch of guys kicking back with a steak and a couple of beers and talking about the Seder? Try everything. #ManSeder
  • BREAKING: Smirking killer singled out Jews for death in suburban Kansas City rampage. 3 die in bloody rampage at JCC and retirement home.
  • Real exodus? For Mimi Minsky, it's screaming kids and demanding hubby on way down to Miami, not matzo in the desert.
  • The real heroines of Passover prep aren't even Jewish. But the holiday couldn't happen without them.
  • Is Handel’s ‘Messiah’ an anti-Semitic screed?
  • Meet the Master of the Matzo Ball.
  • Pierre Dulaine wants to do in his hometown of Jaffa what he did for kids in Manhattan: teach them to dance.
  • "The first time I met Mick Jagger, I said, 'Those are the tackiest shoes I’ve ever seen.'” Jewish music journalist Lisa Robinson remembers the glory days of rock in her new book, "There Goes Gravity."
  • 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.