WASHINGTON — President Obama said he would reassess his policies of engagement with Iran by the end of this year.
Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, left, and U.S. President Obama. [Israel Sun photo] video
Obama, who appeared before reporters Tuesday with Israeli Prime
Minister Benjamin Netanyahu after their first White House meeting, also
said that the United States was considering all options in dealing with
Iran’s suspected nuclear weapons program.
"I assured the prime minister that we are not foreclosing a range of
steps, including sanctions, in ensuring that Iran understands that we
are serious," Obama said, following the 2 1/2-hour meeting, which also
included close advisers to both leaders.
Netanyahu arrived in Washington hoping to find out how long the
Obama administration was giving the Iranians to respond substantively
to the president’s offer of outreach.
After the meeting, Obama rejected "artificial deadlines" for
engagement with Iran, but added, "We’re not going to have to talk
forever, we’re not going to have a situation where talks become an
excuse for inaction."
"We will probably be engaged and have an assesment by the end of the year."
Obama reiterated his commitment to a two-state solution, while
Netayahu resolutely refused to commit to Palestinian statehood.
Instead, Netanyanu again said Israel was serious about resuming the
full range of negotiations with the Palestinians.
Obama said that both sides must abide by previous commitments,
calling on the Palestinians to rein in violence against Israel, but
also urging Netanyahu to stop settlement expansion and allow
humanitarian goods into the Gaza Strip.
Both leaders said that Iranian and Israeli-Palestinian issues have a
causal effect on one another, but rejected any formal linkage between