WASHINGTON (JTA) — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu instructed his Cabinet and senior officials to keep silent following President Obama’s phone conversation with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.
media reported Saturday that a number of top officials, including
outgoing ambassador to Washington Michael Oren and Finance Minister
Yuval Steinitz, canceled media interviews.
Netanyahu’s order came
in the wake of Obama’s 15-minute phone conversation Friday with
Rouhani, the highest such contacts between the two countries since the
1979 Iranian Revolution. Following the call, Obama said he was confident
in the possibility of resolving tensions over Iran’s nuclear program.
Rouhani has indicated that Iran will never develop nuclear weapons,”
Obama said. “I have made clear that we respect the right of the Iranian
people to access peaceful nuclear energy in the context of Iran meeting
its obligations. So the test will be meaningful, transparent and
verifiable actions, which can also bring relief from the comprehensive
international sanctions that are currently in place.”
who is set to meet Obama on Monday in Washington, has said repeatedly
that he believes Rouhani’s purported moderation and willingness to
negotiate amount to a ruse to buy time to advance Iran’s weapons
Iran says it maintains its right to enrich uranium for
peaceful purposes. Israel opposes Iran possessing any capacity for