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U.S., Israeli Leaders Discuss Holding Iran To Nuclear Deal

  • RFE/RL

U.S. President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu shake hands during their meeting in the White House.

U.S. President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu shake hands during their meeting in the White House.

U.S. President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sought to put their dispute over the Iran nuclear deal behind them at a White House meeting November 9.

Iran, nevertheless, appeared to remain uppermost on their minds even as they discussed ways to try to renew prospects for peace between Israelis and Palestinians.

Obama before the meeting said both sides clearly want to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons and they only disagree over the "narrow issue" of whether the deal forged in July will prevent Iran from doing so.

Moreover, he said both countries are ready to work together to ensure Iran carries out the deal while preventing Tehran from engaging in other "destabilizing" activities in the Middle East.

"We don't have a disagreement on the need to make sure Iran does not get a nuclear weapon, and we don't have a disagreement about us blunting destabilizing activities in Iran that may be taking place," Obama said.

"So we're going to be looking to make sure we find common ground there."

In their two-hour-long private session, Obama and Netanyahu discussed ways to cooperate to ensure Iran lives up to its commitments under the deal, a senior Obama official told AP.

While the White House did not give specifics, some commentators have called for Israel and the United States to set up a formal mechanism aimed at monitoring and ensuring Tehran's compliance -- a move that would infuriate Iran.

Netanyahu did not disclose what they discussed, but he later told the American Enterprise Institute think tank, "We are in agreement that we want to keep Iran's feet to the fire."

He said he also made clear to Obama that Israel would not feel "obliged" to honor any Syrian peace settlement that does not prevent Iran from using Syrian territory for aggression against Israel either directly or through proxies such as Hizballah.

"The defense of Israel is what concerns me in Syria first and foremost, and on that we'll continue to act forcefully," he said.

With reporting by AP, Reuters, and AFP
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