Dep FM Ayalon
Dep FM Ayalon Israel news photo: Hezki Ezra

Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon said in an interview Thursday that while there were still significant differences of opinion on how to handle Iran, the gap between the two sides was closing.

While the impression one would get from President Barack H. Obama's speech at the UN General Assembly was that the United States was willing to give Iran much more time to Iran to fulfill international demands that Tehran open its nuclear facilities for inspection and comply with IAEA strictures on the development of its program, the fact that Obama has not set any “red lines” for the program does not mean that such lines will not be set in the future. According to Ayalon, the U.S. and Israel are not far apart on what would constitute those red lines, and how they should be implemented.

Ayalon said that despite recent reports and rumors, the relations between Israel and the U.S. are excellent and that both countries have become much closer lately in their views on what to do about Iran, because Tehran is clearly not serious about negotiating or compromising.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has already arrived in New York and is set to speak to the General Assembly on Thursday afternoon, New York time. Netanyahu is expected to again stress the need for red lines against Iran, and call upon the international community to increase the pressure on Iran, stressing that the current sanctions are not having the desired effect.

In a message to Israeli citizens on Wednesday night, as he left for the U.S., Netanyahu wrote, referring to the speech Wednesday by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmejinadad, that “on Yom Kippur, the day we pray for inclusion in the Book of Life, a platform was provided for the head of a dictatorship that seeks to destroy Israel to speak at the UN. As Prime Minister of Israel, the state of the Jewish people, I am working through all channels to ensure that Iran does not attain nuclear weapons. History has proven that those who seek to erase us from the map fail, with the Jewish people overcoming all enemies.”