Why Obama Is Right To Reject Netanyahu’s Call For Iran To Recognize Israel

Fatimah Mazhar
Benjamin Netanyahu’s call for Iran to recognize Israel clearly shows he doesn’t understand how negotiations work.

Obama Rejects Netanyahu's Call for Iran to Recognize Israel

It’s not really a surprise that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is not at all comfortable the framework for a nuclear deal between the United States and Iran – a breakthrough agreement reached in Switzerland last week.

After all, it was just last month that Netanyahu took the trouble of traveling to the U.S. despite being in the midst of a heated reelection campaign and ruthlessly snubbed President Barack Obama just to warn American lawmakers and people of the dangers of a nuclear Iran.

Despite multiple assurances from the U.S. that the agreement reached between world powers and Iran does not threaten the survival of Israel, Bibi remains unconvinced. Not only does he want a “better deal” with more protection for Israel, he also wants it to include “unambiguous Iranian recognition of Israel’s right to exist” – a demand Obama politely rejected and rightfully so.

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During an interview with NPR, Obama said it would be a "fundamental misjudgment" to expect the Iranian regime “to completely transform.”

“The notion that we would condition Iran not getting nuclear weapons in a verifiable deal on Iran recognizing Israel is really akin to saying that we won’t sign a deal unless the nature of the Iranian regime completely transforms,” the U.S. president stated.

“And that is, I think, a fundamental misjudgment. I want to return to this point: We want Iran not to have nuclear weapons precisely because we can't bank on the nature of the regime changing. That's exactly why we don't want to have nuclear weapons. If suddenly Iran transformed itself to Germany or Sweden or France then there would be a different set of conversations about their nuclear infrastructure,” he added.

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Netanyahu’s long history of crying wolf about Iran’s nuclear ambitions and rhetoric of war against the Islamic republic have already earned him a reputation of a man who will never let a peace deal come into being.

By claiming that such an important agreement be based on Iran’s recognition of Israel – something everyone knows will be difficult to achieve until June (the expected deadline of the deal) and which is also an entirely different matter altogether – Netanyahu is, yet again, being impossible and unrealistic.

Billing it “the deal of a lifetime,” Slate’s Fred Kaplan commented, “... anyone who denounces this framework – anyone who argues that we should pull out of the talks, impose more sanctions, or bomb Iran because it’s better to have no deal than to have this one – is not a serious person or is pursuing a parochial agenda.”

Now it’s pretty obvious who that “anyone” could be, isn’t it?

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