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U.S. Unimpressed by Netanyahu Speech, Won't Set Red Lines

The Obama administration reiterates that the President would not set “red lines” for Iran, despite Netanyahu's UN speech.
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 9/28/2012, 1:13 AM

Netanayhu draws red line for Iran
Netanayhu draws red line for Iran
Reuters

The Obama administration remained unimpressed on Thursday after Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s speech to the United Nations and reiterated that the President would not set “red lines” for Iran.

“As the prime minister said, the United States and Israel share the goal of preventing Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon," spokesman Tommy Vietor of the National Security Council said on Thursday, adding, “We will continue our close consultation and cooperation toward achieving that goal.”

Meanwhile, officials in Washington quoted in the Israeli media praised Netanyahu for the conciliatory approach he took towards Obama but made ​​it clear that the United States still opposes placing a red line for Iran.

The officials noted that Obama had been making his way from a campaign stop in Virginia as Netanyahu was making his speech and as such had no time to watch the speech live. While Obama has declined a request for a meeting by Netanyahu, the two are expected to speak over the phone on Friday.

Obama rejected the idea of placing “red lines” for Iran during a phone conversation with Netanyahu several weeks ago, and received backing from Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, who said that red lines “are kind of political arguments that are used to try to put people in a corner.”

Earlier this week, Obama likened Israeli pressure on him to draw a clear “red line” over Iran's nuclear ambitions to "noise" he tries to ignore.

Interviewed for "60 Minutes" on CBS, Obama said, “When it comes to our national security decisions – any pressure that I feel is simply to do what's right for the American people. And I am going to block out -- any noise that's out there.”

In his UN speech, Netanyahu drew an actual red line with a marker on a chart symbolizing Iran's uranium enrichment program, and explained that Iran must be told that if it reaches enough uranium enriched to the 90% level in order to make a nuclear bomb, it will be attacked.