The head of the House Foreign Affairs Committee is demanding that President Obama vigorously enforce sanctions on Iran, as the Israeli prime minister is seething privately over the failure of White House diplomacy to stop Iran’s nuclear program.
“It is the duty of the administration to stop wavering, stop wasting time with meaningless dialogue and fully implement and enforce sanctions against this dangerous pariah. No excuses,” said Rep. Eleana Ros-Lehtinen, Florida Republican.
She said the release of a report by the International Atomic Energy Agency confirms suspicions that Iran is pursuing atomic weapons, not nuclear power, as it claims.
“We cannot let the moment pass by doubting the evidence that is right in front of our eyes,” she said.
“Sanctions will do nothing to stop Iran’s nuclear program if they are not strictly enforced,” she said Friday.
As Mrs. Ros-Lehtinen criticized Mr. Obama in Washington, the Israel media were reporting on an explosive confrontation between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and U.S. Ambassador Daniel Shapiro in Jerusalem.
“Instead of pressuring Iran in an effective way, Obama and his people are pressuring us not to attack the nuclear facilities,” a person in the meeting quoted the prime minister as saying.
The headline over the story read: “The Confrontation.”
“Lightning and sparks flew,” veteran reporter Shimon Schiffer wrote, quoting sources with knowledge of Friday’s closed-door meeting.
Meanwhile in London, the United States on Friday signaled a further sign of division with Israel when Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, tried to distance the Obama administration from the possibility of an Israeli unilateral strike against Iran.
“I don’t want to be complicit if they chose to do it,” he told reporters.
Gen. Dempsey added that the “international coalition could be undone if [Iran] was attacked prematurely.”
Foreign visitors in Washington this week include:
Lt. Gen. Hans-Werner Fritz, director of strategy and operations of the German Defense Ministry. He discusses strategic challenges to Germany’s military in a lecture organized by the German Embassy.
Monica Herz, director of the Institute of International Relations at the Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro, and Mustafa Kibaroglu, chairman of the International Relations Department of Okan University in Istanbul, Turkey. They participate in a forum on Iran’s nuclear program at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.
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