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      Yachimovich Criticizes Netanyahu Over Attitude on Iran

      Opposition leader says Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu was “sowing panic” regarding Iran before he left for the United States.
      By Elad Benari
      First Publish: 10/1/2013, 6:13 AM

      Shelly Yechimovich
      Shelly Yechimovich
      Flash 90

      Opposition leader MK Shelly Yachimovich (Labor) on Monday criticized Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu for “sowing panic” regarding Iran before he left for the United States.

      Yachimovich’s comments came after a meeting between Netanyahu and U.S. President Barack Obama, during which Obama said that Washington would not ease up on its sanctions against Iran unless and until Tehran halted its nuclear arms program.

      "The Obama-Netanyahu meeting indicates that there was no need to rush and paint pessimistic scenarios regarding the U.S. attitude toward the Iranian nuclear race," Yachimovich said, and added that Netanyahu should internalize the fact that the United States and Israel are on the same side when it comes to Iran.

      "The fact that Obama reiterated today that all options are on the table, including the military option, reinforces this and shows that the leader of the free world is doing his job: he imposes sanctions and leaves the diplomatic door open, but at the same time is not softening his position on Iran's nuclear program,” said Yachimovich.

      She stressed that Israel must take care to remember that "one of Israel’s most important strategic assets is the alliance with the Americans and the Americans understand as well that a nuclear Iran is a threat not only to Israel but to the entire world."

      As he left for New York overnight Saturday, Netanyahu promised “to tell the truth in the face of the sweet talk and charm offensive of Iran.”

      "Telling the truth at this time is essential for world peace and security and, of course, for Israel's security," noted Netanyahu.

      Netanyahu’s remarks were made in the wake of recent conciliatory remarks made by Iran’s new president, Hassan Rouhani.

      Rouhani has urged the world to seize the opportunity of his election to resolve the nuclear dispute and has indicated that his administration was willing to talk with the West instead of alienate it as did the previous government under Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

      Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and Kerry met in New York last Thursday, as part of a meeting with diplomats from the other P5+1 nations. It was the highest-level meeting between an Iranian official and an American official since 1979.

      In another sign that the relations between Iran and the U.S. are improving, Rouhani and U.S. President Barack Obama held a telephone call last Friday, the first of its kind between an American and Iranian president in more than three decades.