As US President Barack Obama opens the door for diplomacy with Iran, Israel stands isolated as the only “warmonger” in the world unwilling to give diplomacy a chance, according to a report by the New York Times.
In his address to the annual session of the UN General Assembly in New York on Tuesday, Obama said Washington prefers a diplomatic solution to its disputes with Iran over its nuclear program. “I do believe that if we can resolve the issue of Iran’s nuclear program, that can serve as a major step down a long road towards a different relationship; one based on mutual interests and mutual respect,” the president said. Hours later, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, used his debut at the world body to tell the world that Tehran is ready for talks on its nuclear energy program with complete transparency. Rouhani urged Obama to reject "the short-sighted interest of warmongering pressure groups” if he wants "to manage differences" with Tehran. "Nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction have no place in Iran's security and defense doctrine, and contradict our fundamental religious and ethical convictions," he said. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel, however, ordered Israel’s delegation to boycott the speech by the new Iranian president and once again accused Iran of pursuing nuclear weapons. “We will not be fooled by half-measures that merely provide a smoke screen for Iran’s continual pursuit of nuclear weapons,” Netanyahu told reporters in Tel Aviv hours before Rouhani addressed the General Assembly. “And the world should not be fooled either.” Israeli analysts have expressed concern that Netanyahu’s hard-line approach towards Iran is leaving him isolated by allies who want to give diplomacy a chance. “It’s a very dangerous and very awkward situation for Netanyahu to be perceived as the only naysayer and warmonger,” Dan Gillerman, a former Israeli ambassador to the United Nations, told the Times. Dan Meridor, a veteran Israeli minister, said Israel should “speak positively” about Iran’s new president, invoking a Hebrew phrase that means “respect him and suspect him.” The United States, Israel, and some of their allies have repeatedly accused Iran of pursuing non-civilian objectives in its nuclear energy program. Iran rejects the allegation, arguing that as a committed signatory to the Non-Proliferation Treaty and a member of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), it has the right to use nuclear technology for peaceful purposes.