Zee Media Bureau/Supriya Jha
Jerusalem: Three days after US President Barack Obama and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani spoke on telephone after the UN General Assembly session in New York, triggering hopes of a possible thaw; Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday sought to warn the United States against Tehran’s ‘sweet talk’.
Before boarding a flight to the US, where Netanyahu is expected to meet Barack Obama today, the Israeli PM said, "I will tell the truth in the face of the sweet talk and the onslaught of smiles".
"Telling the truth today is vital for the security and peace of the world and, of course, it is vital for the security of the state of Israel," he added.
After the historic conversation between Obama and Rouhani, that was a first in three decades, there have been speculations of a possible thaw between US-Iran ties adding to the fears of Israel that the US might ease sanctions on Iran.
Netanyahu in his meeting with Obama is set to convey his suspicion against Iran and caution the US President against what Israeli leaders call Rouhani’s “smiley campaign”.
Though Obama is expected to assure Netanyahu on Iran, there are possibilities of the meet turning into a not-so-smooth encounter.
It can be noted that Netanyahu and Obama share a history of rude meetings including the one in 2011 when Netanyahu famously lectured the US President on Jewish history.
Netanyahu’s “sweet talk” remark refers to Rouhani’s conciliatory speech at the United Nations where he reiterated that Iran has no intention of building a nuclear weapon and declared his readiness for new negotiations with the West.
Moreover the speech and Iran’s willingness to reconcile was termed as a “breakthrough” by Obama. To top it, Obama and Rouhani held a 15 minute phone talk, which according to Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi, dealt with ways to lift the sanctions imposed on Iran.
Also, US and European diplomats hailed a "very significant shift" in Iran`s attitude and tone.
Iran’s conciliatory overtures are turning out to be nightmarish for Israel, as Netanyahu contends that Rouhani is using conciliatory gestures as a smoke screen to conceal an unabated march toward a nuclear bomb.
Netanyahu is expected to urge Obama in tough cautionary tone, to not loosen the noose around Iran`s neck and maintain economic sanctions on Tehran so that the Islamic republic does not develop a bomb.
Iran`s nuclear programme has for years, been a subject of controversy as the West suspects that Iran is pursuing nuclear weapons` ambition under the disguise of peaceful atomic energy needs. But Iran maintains that it has a right to nuclear enrichment as it is only for peaceful and medical purposes.