Netanyahu asks Obama to keep up pressure on Iran
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu urged President Barack Obama during talks at the White House on Monday to keep up tough sanctions on Iran until there is "verifiable success" that it had addressed Western concerns about its nuclear programme, dpa reported.
Netanyahu noted that Iran has said it is committed to Israel's destruction and that recent overtures that it is willing to negotiate on its nuclear programme must be backed up with action.
"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," Netanyahu said. "I also believe that if diplomacy is to work, those pressures must be kept in place. And I think they should not be lessened until there is verifiable success."
Obama on Friday became the first US president since the 1979 Iranian revolution to speak with an Iranian president in a telephone conversation with Hassan Rowhani.
Obama told Netanyahu it was important to the security of both nations that Iran not possess a nuclear weapon. Israel views a nuclear armed Iran as an existential threat and has not ruled out military strikes against Iranian nuclear facilities.
"We have to test diplomacy," he told reporters after the meeting, but stressed the need to be "clear-eyed" about the challenges.
Iran denies Western claims that it is seeking nuclear weapons and says its programme is peaceful.