US President Barack Obama's decision not to urge a complete halt to Iran's nuclear program has irked sources in Jerusalem, the New York Times reported Friday.
Obama's decision not to declare publicly that Iran must destroy much of what it has built “really riled the Israelis on their trip,” the Times quoted a former senior American official who met with some of the Israeli representatives.
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Instead, the US president demanded that Tehran prove its nuclear program has no military purposes, suggesting that if it did, its nuclear development would be allowed to persist.
Iranian President Hassan Rohani has noted that his country's nuclear program is developed for peaceful purposes, but Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu insists that Iran is committed to the destruction of the State of Israel and must therefore be forced to dismantle its nuclear program, regardless of its declared intentions.
In his UNGA address, Netanyhau noted he did not trust Rohani's declarations that Iran's nuclear program was peaceful, calling the Iranian president was "a wolf in sheep's clothing."
An American involved in devising the West’s negotiating strategy told the Times: “The Israelis want to go back to where the Iranians were a decade ago. No one in the US disagrees with that as a goal. The question is whether it’s achievable, and whether it’s better to have a small Iranian capacity that is closely watched, or to insist on eliminating their capacity altogether.”
According to the Times, the US and Israel share the same goal when it comes to Iran's military nuclear program, but each sees a different strategy by which said goal can be achieved.
While Israel is concerned that lifting sanctions would allow Iran to rebuild its economy and finance radical groups in the region, the US sees benefits to a rapprochement, promoted most likely by reducing economic sanctions.
A senior Israeli official noted that in terms of strategy, Europe is more closely aligned with the Israeli standpoint: “Europeans are clearly understanding that we need to restate the military option in order for things to move.
"When Netanyahu says we will not allow Iran to have a nuclear weapon, that’s exactly what he means. He does not say we will not allow Iran to have such and such a reactor and such and such enriched uranium,” the source told the Times.
The United States held out the possibility on Thursday of giving Iran some short-term sanctions relief in return for concrete steps to slow uranium enrichment and shed light on its nuclear program.
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