News / Middle East

Obama, Netanyahu Stress Need for Iran to Verify Nuke Program

U.S. President Barack Obama speaks alongside Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, Sep. 30, 2013.
U.S. President Barack Obama speaks alongside Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, Sep. 30, 2013.
President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have discussed negotiations with Iran to resolve concerns about its nuclear program.  The Israeli leader said Iran must completely dismantle what he called its military nuclear weapons program.

The meeting occurred just days after President Obama and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani spoke by telephone, the first conversation between an American president and an Iranian leader since 1979.

Before Monday's talks, the White House recognized Israeli government skepticism about recent Iranian overtures, including new statements that Iran would not develop nuclear weapons.  

After his talks with Netanyahu, Obama said Iran's intentions must be tested and any agreement with Iran must be verifiable.

"It is absolutely clear that words are not sufficient, that we have to have actions that give the international community confidence that, in fact, they are meeting their international obligations fully and they are not in a position to have a nuclear weapon," said President Obama.

Obama said it was the extraordinary international sanctions the international community imposed that brought Iran to the negotiating table.

The U.S. will be "clear-eyed" in negotiations, Obama said, adding that Washington will insist on the "highest standard of verification."  

And he repeated that the U.S. takes no options off the table, including military, to ensure that Iran does not obtain a nuclear weapon.

Watch related video by VOA's Jeff Seldin

Netanyahu Tries to Deflate Iran's Charm Offensivei
September 30, 2013 6:03 PM
This week could be pivotal for relations between Iran and the United States. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama in Washington before going to the United Nations to speak to the General Assembly. And much of the talk is expected to focus on Israeli fears that Iran is just playing games. VOA's Jeff Seldin reports.

Netanyahu said he appreciated Obama's making it clear that he remains committed to that goal.

But he laid out what Israel sees as the most important requirement coming out of negotiations with Iran.

"Iran is committed to Israel's destruction. So, for Israel, the ultimate test of a future agreement with Iran is whether or not  Iran dismantles its military nuclear program," said Netanyahu.

Maintaining pressure

Netanyahu said sanctions must be maintained until there is verifiable success, and strengthened if Iran continues to advance its nuclear program during negotiations.

The Israeli leader addresses the U.N. General Assembly on Tuesday.

Netanyahu and Obama also discussed Syria, the situation in Egypt, and Israel-Palestinian peace talks.

On Syria, Obama said Israel and the U.S. share broad concerns, including spillover effects of the civil war. He stressed the importance of follow-through on the UN Security Council resolution approved last week to remove and destroy Syrian chemical weapons.

Obama said his government remains committed to a constructive relationship with the government in Cairo, despite concerns about events there.

He said Washington will continue pushing for a direction that is "more inclusive" and that "meets the basic goals of those who originally sought more freedom and democracy."

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Comment Sorting
by: Godwin from: Nigeria
October 02, 2013 1:32 PM
Don't be deceived, Obama means nothing of all he says here. While relating with Israel, he has his eyes on Iran and only speaks because he is US president. In his mind he wishes he did not have to speak with an Israeli let alone Netanyahu, but as USA president he has no option. Only those who cannot read in between lines can be deceived by obama's double speak. Merely seeing his countenance speaking with the Israeli tells the tale. Israel should really wait until another president before being sure it is not alone on the path to curbing Iran's nuclear ambition. For now, Israel should have better allies in Hamas and trust in Hassan Nassrallah than in Mr. Obama.

by: mambo from: tz
October 01, 2013 4:34 AM
Iran and US. must start the new chapter in their history now,the world has witnessed that some countries will never seek diplomancy as the only way to solve problems.Second, Iran as a right member of IAE has the full right to peaceful nuclear technology,the world should give diplomancy a chance.

by: Igor from: Russia
October 01, 2013 1:30 AM
Mr. Netanyahu, what about the nuclear weapons of Israel? Do you intend to let the UN inspectors visit your country to inspect your nuclear weapon sites? has youur country signed any international treaty about nuclear weapons yet? you have no right to ask any country to quit its nuclear weapons!!!

by: Tony Bellchambers from: London UK
September 30, 2013 3:58 PM
<b>The World to President Obama. Get a grip on Binyamin Netanyahu before he succeeds in inciting a nuclear war and in the process trashes your presidency and consigns your term(s) in office to a historical footnote.</b>

by: Davis K. Thanjan from: New York
September 30, 2013 3:52 PM
It is not just the Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu that does not trust President Obama, the U.S. President. The US citizens and the rest of the world do not trust Obama. His announcements and pronouncements changes and take U turns. For example, the closure of the prisons in Guantanamo, Obamas red line of chemical weapon use by Assad, his threat of punishing Assad for the use of chemical weapons and cozying with Iranian President Rouhani are all signs of unreliability of Obama. Obama is more interested in Iran than Israel. Even Putin of Russia have to bail out Obama. Obama will sacrifice everything for his ego. It is not just in international affairs he heaped up failures. The failures of Obama care, control of government expenses and increasing the national debt all will culminate in national disaster. It is better that Netanyahu follow his path independent of Obama and the U.S..

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