No crisis. US President Barack Obama
Photo: AFP
Welcome in the White House. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
Photo: AP

'US, Israel see eye to eye on Iran'

Senior White House official meets with Jewish leaders, says there is no crisis between Washington and Jerusalem; stresses Iranian threat is National Security Council's top priority

WASHINGTON – The United States and Israel are fully in sync when it comes to Iran, a senior member of the US National Security Council told Jewish leaders in Washington Friday.


The official, who according to Politico, was Dan Shapiro, Director for Near East Affairs at the National Security Council, assured the leaders that Iran is the National Security Council's top priority and that the US is adamant to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons.


The meeting between Shapiro and Jewish community heads in the US took place following recent tensions between US President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.


Shapiro added that there was no crisis between Washington and Jerusalem, saying that American criticism on Israel "makes for sexy news," and adding that the US equally criticizes Palestinian incitement.


When asked about possible sanctions against Iran, Shapiro said that the US was close to achieving the necessary consensus within the UN Security Council. Shapiro said that sanction were unlikely to compel Tehran to cease its nuclear efforts, but added he believed they would demonstrate – to both the leaders and people in Iran – that the Islamic Republic would have to pay a heavy price if it continues on its current path.


As for the persistent rumors of a crisis between Washington and Jerusalem over construction in east Jerusalem and the West Bank, Shapiro said that "there is no crisis. Media reports are wrong… there is more agreement than disagreement."


Reports suggesting Washington was considering cutting back on its aid to Israel were also wrong, he said, stressing that the subject was not up for debate.


The administration, he told the Jewish leaders, wants to reignite the Israeli-Palestinian peace process and Israel's actions in east Jerusalem introduced a difficult reality. Nevertheless, the relations between the two remain as solid as ever and any reports of tensions "were exaggerated."


Netanyahu was welcome in the White House on his last visit to Washington, he added, and the meeting between him and President Obama was set at the last minute only because that latter's trip to Asia was cancelled.


Obama's meeting with the Israeli premier was long and focused on the Iranian threat and the Middle East peace process. Both countries, concluded Shapiro, see eye to eye on most issues.


פרסום ראשון: 04.03.10, 07:54
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