Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and US President Barack Obama spoke on the phone for an hour Tuesday night about Iran and other security issues, the White House said yesterday.
‘President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu reaffirmed that they are united in their determination to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon, and agreed to continue their close consultations going forward,’ the White House statement read.
The conversation came after a dispute between Jerusalem and Washington over setting red lines for Iran’s nuclear programme became public, and after Israeli sources said the White House had denied a request for a meeting with Obama when Netanyahu visits the US later this month to address the United Nation’s General Assembly.
‘There was never a request for Prime Minister Netanyahu to meet with President Obama in Washington, nor was a request for a meeting ever denied,’ the statement also read. Netanyahu is expected to meet with other senior US officials in New York, including Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Obama’s phone conversation with Netanyahu came after the PM criticised US’ policy on Tehran yesterday. Netanyahu said that those who do not place ‘red lines’ in front of Iran have no moral right to put a ‘red light’ in front of Israel when it comes to military action.
Netanyahu’s words came in the wake of statements by Clinton on Sunday, and State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland on Monday, that both stated the US had no intention of putting either red lines or deadlines in front of Iran.
Netanyahu added on Tuesday that diplomacy and sanctions, which have hurt the Iranian economy, have not stopped the Iranian nuclear programme. ‘The fact is that every day that passes, Iran gets closer and closer to nuclear bombs,’ he said. ‘If Iran knows that there are no red lines, if Iran knows that there are no deadlines, what will it do? Exactly what it is doing. It is continuing without interference toward obtaining nuclear weapons capabilities and from there nuclear bombs.’
The world, Netanyahu said, tells Israel to wait and that there is still time. ‘And I say wait for what? Wait until when? Those in the international community who refuse to put deadlines in front of Iran do not have the moral right to put a red light before Israel.’