Netanyahu Makes Rounds in Challenge to US Peace with Iran
Despite recent peace talks with Iran, Obama pledges once again to keep military options 'on the table'
Following a relative easing of tension between U.S. and Iranian leaders last week, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu set off to the U.S. in a bid to convince the Obama administration to keep war on the table despite Iran's seemingly conciliatory new leadership.
Netanyahu met U.S. President Barack Obama for lunch at the White House on Monday, while protesters outside chanted "try Bibi for war crimes" in reference to the Israel's ongoing treatment of Palestinians. During the meeting Netanyahu urged Obama to keep sanctions in place against Iran, if not strengthen them, and to keep war an active option against the country.
In lockstep with his Israeli counterpart Obama vowed to keep all options on the table, including the possibility of a military response to Tehran.
Last Thursday US secretary of state John Kerry and Iranian foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif met in a closed-door session at the United Nations, designed to lay the groundwork for future talks about Iran's nuclear program. Some media outlets and observers described the meeting as a "breakthrough" in the often tense relationship between the two nations.
The meeting led to a phone call on Friday between President Obama and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani—the first time leaders from the two country's have communicated directly in more than 30 years.
Netanyahu told Israeli media following those developments that he would "tell the truth in the face of the sweet talk and charm offensive of Iran," in meetings with world leaders this week.
The truth, according to Netanyahu, is that Iran is developing a nuclear arsenal—a claim the Israeli government has continuously failed to prove, despite numerous attempts to sway U.S. leaders and the American public.
Netanyahu is now heading to New York to address the UN's General Assembly on Tuesday.