Friday, November 07, 2008

Israel cautions against Obama dialogue with Iran

From THE JERUSALEM POST November 6, 2008, by Associated Press:

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Thursday congratulated Barak Obama on his election win - the first time an Iranian leader has offered such wishes to a US president-elect since the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

...Iran and US have no formal diplomatic relations since 1979 and the hostage drama when militant Iranian students held 52 Americans captive 444 days.

Current US-Iranian relations remain very tense, with Washington accusing Iran of trying to develop nuclear weapons and of providing support for Shi'ite militants who are killing US soldiers in Iraq - charges which Teheran denies.

...In his message to Obama Thursday, Ahmadinejad went on to say that "nations of the world" expect changes from Obama - mostly that he will change current US foreign policy... ...Ahmadinejad also said that Obama is expected to replace such a policy ...

...Obama has said he is open to direct diplomacy with Iranian leaders as a way to break the impasse between the two countries or give the US more credibility to press for tougher sanctions if talks fail.

From The Washingtom Post Reuters Thursday, November 6, 2008; (Writing by Jeffrey Heller, editing by Philippa Fletcher):

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israel said Thursday U.S. President-elect Barack Obama's stated readiness to talk to Iran could be seen in the Middle East as a sign of weakness in efforts to persuade Tehran to curb its nuclear program.

"We live in a neighborhood in which sometimes dialogue -- in a situation where you have brought sanctions, and you then shift to dialogue -- is liable to be interpreted as weakness," Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni said, asked on Israel Radio about policy change toward Tehran in an Obama administration.

Her remarks sounded the first note of dissonance with Obama by a senior member of the Israeli government since the Democrat's sweeping victory over Republican candidate John McCain in the U.S. presidential election Tuesday.

Asked if she supported any U.S. dialogue with Iran, Livni replied: "The answer is no." ...

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