Israel is concerned over the thaw in Western-Iranian ties that has been developing at breathtaking pace in the last few days and culminated Friday with a phone call between the American and Iranian presidents.
“I am going there to represent the interests of the people of Israel, our readiness to defend ourselves and our hope for peace,” Netanyahu told reporters on the plane before taking off for the US. “I will say the truth. In the face of the sweet talk and the smiles one needs to tell the truth. Only the truth, today, is vital to the security of the world, and of course essential to the security of our country.”
Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Saturday ordered his government colleagues and ambassadors not to respond to the latest, dramatic development in Iran’s outreach to the West, in which President Barack Obama and Iranian President Hasan Rouhani broke a 30-year US-Iran rift and spoke by telephone on Friday.
Israel was informed ahead of time that the call would take place, but “there was no advance coordination of positions” between Israel and the US on the content of the talk, Israel’s Channel 2 reported Saturday night, adding that Netanyahu remains convinced that Iran’s ostensible outreach is “a fraud” designed to get sanctions lifted without truly abandoning the drive to nuclear weapons.
Netanyahu’s order came hours after Tzachi Hanegbi, a member of the prime minister’s ruling Likud Party and a member of the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, told Israel Radio that unless a substantive nuclear agreement with the Islamic Republic is reached soon, Israel will take the necessary steps to defend itself and remove the threat.