Netanyahu to Obama: Iran Must Take Meaningful Actions

Iran’s conciliatory remarks have to be matched by “transparent, verifiable, meaningful actions,” Netanyahu tells President Obama.

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Elad Benari,

Obama and Netanyahu at Monday's meeting
Obama and Netanyahu at Monday's meeting
Eliran Aharon

Iran’s recent conciliatory remarks have to be matched by “transparent, verifiable, meaningful actions,” Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu told U.S. President Barack Obama on Monday.

“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,” Netanyahu said after his meeting with the President.

“In this regard, I want to express my appreciation to you for the enormous work that's been done to have a sanctions regime in place to thwart Iran's pursuit of nuclear weapons,” he added. “I believe that it's the combination of a credible military threat and the pressure of those sanctions that have brought Iran to the negotiating table.”

“I also believe that if diplomacy is to work, those pressures must be kept in place,” Netanyahu told Obama. “And I think they should not be lessened until there is verifiable success. And in fact, it is Israel's firm belief that if Iran continues to advance its nuclear program during negotiations, the sanctions should be strengthened...I think, is still the only formula that can get a peaceful resolution of this problem.”

Obama said earlier that Washington would not ease up on its sanctions against Iran unless and until Tehran halted its nuclear arms program.

During the meeting between the two leaders, the Prime Minister discussed Iran's advanced nuclear work, presenting documentation showing that Iran was farther along in its nuclear development than international inspectors suspect.

Netanyahu also presented Obama with the key points he intends to make in his speech to the UN General Assembly on Tuesday. Among other things, Netanyahu is expected to say that he does not rule out diplomatic dialogue with new Iranian President, provided that the talks will establish real results.

Obama said that it was clear that, despite Rouhani's “charm offensive,” the U.S. would not take Iran at its word, and expected to see actions - specifically a reduction in the level of uranium enrichment as demanded by the international community - that can be verified.

The U.S., he said, would negotiate with Iran “with its eyes wide open,” and consult closely with Israel on the developments. He stressed that the U.S. was not ruling out any option on Iran, including the military option.