At White House, Netanyahu warns Obama not to ease up on Iran

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Barack Obama meet at the White House on Wednesday. Credit: Prime Minister's Office via Twitter.

( During a meeting at the White House, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned U.S. President Barack Obama about the danger of leaving Iran with nuclear capabilities.

“Iran seeks a deal that would lift the tough sanctions that you worked so hard to put in place and leave it as a threshold nuclear power,” Netanyahu told Obama during a press conference before their private meeting in the Oval Office on Wednesday. “And I firmly hope under your leadership that would not happen.”

In negotiations with Iran, the P5+1 powers—U.S., U.K., France, Russia, China, and Germany— have supported scaling back Iran’s ability to enrich uranium to 5 percent. But Israel opposes this measure and has called for a complete dismantling of Iran’s nuclear program. 

Netanyahu also conveyed his hopes of getting Arab states to join in on peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, something the prime minister has recently expressed in speeches at the U.N. and before American Jewish leaders in New York. 

“There is something that is changing in the Middle East,” Netanyahu said. “Out of the new situation there is a commonality of interests between Israel and the leading Arab states, and I think that that we should work very hard together to seize upon the common interests and build positive progress to advance a more secure, prosperous and peaceful Middle East.”

Regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Obama said he hopes the two sides will “find ways to change the status quo so that both Israeli citizens are safe in their own homes, and schoolchildren in their schools, from the possibility of rocket fire, but also that we don’t have the tragedy of Palestinian children being killed as well.”

Posted on October 1, 2014 .